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Georges St. Pierre vacates UFC welterweight belt

GSP ecstatic after his fight with Hendricks and his decision to step away. Screen capture courtesy GSP's Twitter page.

Today UFC welterweight champion Georges 'Rush' St. Pierre announced he is vacating the title in order to take some time off and regroup, but indicated he may not return to fight in the Octagon. The announcement didn’t come as much of a surprise  after GSP told Joe Rogan after UFC 167 that he needed to step away.

GSP has held the belt nearly six years---since April 2008 when he beat Matt Sera in a rematch in Montreal to regain a belt he’d lost a year earlier. In that time GSP has had his critics. After his  2007 KO loss to Sera, the Canadian became more cautious and cerebral. Since TKOing Sera in 2008, GSP’s only other finish was v. BJ Penn in 2009. His other eight fights went to a decision.

The welterweight division has been one of the most stacked. Having the skills to defeat every challenger over that time frame is a feat in itself, but St. Pierre, despite the criticism, is the UFC’s largest regular PPV draw by far.  He has been and will be a great ambassador to the sport, and always conducts himself with grace and class, which can’t be said of all champions.

GSP highlighted the pressure of being champion for so long, and that his edge has been his obsession with his opponents. This obsession is what is making life difficult for him mentally. He was careful to point out he’s no victim.

“I chose to do this sport and now I choose not to.” He added, "Mentally, I just feel like I can’t go through another training camp right now and I don’t know when I’ll be able to. Emotionally I need this. I’m going to take a break. I need to have a normal life for a bit.”

Dana White, who was vehemently opposed to GSP’s comments after UFC 167, was more contrite today when he said, "His legacy is he is the greatest welterweight ever.”

White announced Johny Hendricks will now fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 in March.

While GSP held the door open to a return, the former champ has more money than he knows what to do with, movie offers, and nothing left to prove. Good luck champ.

Follow me on Twitter @RenkoStyranka

 

 

 

 

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