Following his split decision win Saturday night, UFC welterweight champion George St-Pierre has broken a stack of records. He holds the longest title reign in division history, the most wins in the UFC ever (19), the most title bout wins ever (12), and the record for most time in the Octagon (5:28:12).
However, Deadspin editor Tim Marchman wrote a piece on Saturday's main event that contained an unnerving statistic on St-Pierre's career:
Since he first won the welterweight title, he's taken, in addition to who knows how many shots in training, 875 strikes in competition, per the official statistics, with nearly half—412—now having come in his last three bouts.
This January will mark GSP's tenth year in the UFC. At 32, if the level of competition is rising, and his skills at age 32 are diminishing, and the amount of punishment he is taking is accelerating, if he wants to retire rich and at the top, then perhaps now is the time.
Johny Hendricks wouldn't get another shot at him, fans wouldn't get a rematch, but if that is what GSP wants to do, then so what? If you are truly a fan of the man, be happy for him if he wants to retire.
UFC president Dana White's words have been miscronstrued in some corners. White has a policy of long standing that any UFC fighter who wants to retire, absolutely should retire. Further, White has accelerated the retirement of some fighters were appeared to be pushing too far. What White took issue with was GSP's discussion of taking a break of unknown duration.
"You owe it to the fans, you owe it to that belt, you owe to this company, and you owe it to Johny Hendricks to give him that opportunity to fight again," said White, crucially adding "unless you’re going to retire.
"There’s no I’m going to go on a cruise, and I’m going to be gone for two years, and I’m going to take a hiatus. I’m going to take a leave of absence. Whatever the hell it was that he was saying. That’s not how it works."
White later said that the pair had talked, and related that the emotional issues GSP had aluded to are not that bad, and expressed confidence that the Quebecer would work it out.
However, if St-Pierre does determine he wants to retire, start a family, and open a gym, then be happy for your hero. Isn't a chance to find love, retire, and pay something back to life what we are all fighting for?