Over the last decade or so, the popularity of the UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts as a whole has grown exponentially. Huge crossover athletes such as Conor McGregor, Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya have attracted millions of viewers to the biggest MMA promotion in the world.
It has now made a huge splash in the sports betting market with thousands of bets placed on fights every week thanks to UFC president Dana White arranging events nearly every Saturday night.
One of the biggest stars in UFC history however has since hung up his gloves. Georges St. Pierre made his UFC debut all the way back in 2004 in a victorious effort over Karo Parisyan. What would follow is one of the most legendary runs in the history of MMA.
The term ‘GOAT’ has become somewhat of a cliché in sports in recent times. Often used as a subjective term for any single person’s greatest athlete, it is hard to find a group of people who can all agree on one ‘GOAT’. However, MMA fans can agree that Georges St. Pierre at the very least belongs in the conversation.
A legendary run
The Quebecer has zero unanswered losses in his career, losing just two fights— His first title fight against Matt Hughes and his first title defence in an upset to Matt Serra. He gained revenge in both reverse matchups and did not lose a single fight after his loss to Serra. He dominated the entire welterweight division for over half a decade, defending his UFC Championship nine times against some of the biggest names in MMA such as BJ Penn, Matt Hughes and Nick Diaz.
He left the sport for nearly four years to the day in 2013 but later returned in a winning effort over Michael Bisping for the UFC Middleweight title before riding off into the sunset after vacating the belt.
He left the promotion holding the record for the most control time of any fighter (2hr 42m), top position time (2hr 22m) and takedowns landed (90). He was a ‘true’ mixed martial artist, mixing intelligent striking with high level grappling to best his opponents and truly a once in a generation athlete.
He is highly trained in several disciplines which of course aided him on his legendary run. A 3rd dan black belt in Kyokushin Karate, 1st degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and black belt in Gaidojutsu and Shidokan, he trained under some of the most legendary trainers in combat sport. Freddie Roach, Renzo Gracie and John Danaher are just some of the names that ‘Rush’ has been tutored by.
Since leaving MMA, GSP has turned to other projects away from the sport. He has forged a relatively successful acting resume so far, appearing in three Marvel projects as Algerian mercenary Georges Batroc. He has long spoke of his desire to act, comparing his preparation to that of his fight camps during his time in the UFC.
Whilst he may no longer be appearing in the octagon, he still keeps himself in incredible shape. In an interview with GQ, GSP spoke of the science behind his routine, saying “Your nervous system, your muscles, your joints, the ligaments—your body’s not made to sustain that much impact all year long. So, I train every day but it’s just to maintain my shape. As I’m getting older, my athletic abilities will diminish, but I will always be in shape.”
Whilst the prospect of him appearing in a UFC octagon seem very slim, especially due to his strained relationship with Dana White, the two-time world champ has not said that his fighting days are behind him. Quite the opposite in fact.
He has expressed interest in taking part in exhibition, charity and novelty fights once he is fully out of his contract with the UFC in the near future. He even once had the opportunity to jump in a four-sided ring against legendary former boxer Oscar De La Hoya, but White put the kibosh on the event as he has with other contracted fighters.
Whether it’s boxing, grappling or an unlikely return to MMA, there is no doubt that fans all around the world will flock to see ‘Rush’ back in action and we eagerly await his first move when out of his contract.
Georges St-Pierre is one of the most legendary fighters in all of combat sport and there is no doubt that he deserves his place in the UFC hall of fame. Since leaving the UFC, he has remained one of the most hard-working athletes in the world and whether he pops up on the big screen or back in a ring somewhere, make no mistake that his success is a product of his own hard work.