If Georges St-Pierre was going to take one more fight, it was going to be against the very best.
Though “GSP” made it clear that he was calling it a career on Thursday at a press conference in Montreal, he acknowledged that prior to making that decision he was seriously interested in a fight with unbeaten UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
St-Pierre, 37, made a name for himself as arguably the greatest welterweight in MMA history by conquering the UFC’s best at 170 pounds before winning a title at 185 pounds by submitting Michael Bisping at UFC 217 in what would turn out to be St-Pierre’s farewell fight. It’s unclear if he would drop to 155 pounds or perhaps meet Nurmagomedov at a catchweight, but St-Pierre confirmed that there were talks of making a fight happen.
However, the parties involved couldn’t come to an agreement, and St-Pierre said at least some of that had to do with the fact that it’s difficult for the UFC to invest in him at this point his career, given that he’d only be looking to take select fights if he were to still compete.
“My agent was talking to the UFC, we tried to organize the fight with Khabib,” St-Pierre said. “I know Khabib wants it and I want it, but the UFC had other plans. To the point where I am in my career, for me it’s more at this time taking one fight at a time instead of being there for several fights. The way the business works in UFC, if they promote someone they want to keep him there to have a guarantee that the guy is there. It’s like an investment.
“I don’t have the same motivation, I’m not the same person I used to be. I remember, just to show you my mental state of mine, it used to be winter and I was poor and I didn’t have much money, back in the day I used to run in the snow, put plastic bags on my feet and run in the snow, do my sprints and scream, “War!” like Marvin Hagler, I was crazy. I don’t do this stuff anymore. I used to want to go there and beat everybody, I don’t care who and when, I wanted to destroy everybody, to go on top. I don’t have the same anger, the same hunger anymore. Even though physically I feel I’m on top of my game, the hunger is not the same.”
Asked if Nurmagomedov’s own acknowledgment of the rumored fight made him consider putting off his retirement until November (when Nurmagomedov is expected to be clear of a suspension stemming from his involvement in the UFC 229 melee), St-Pierre answered that he was aware of Nurmagomedov’s request and that it was “a little bit disappointing” that they couldn’t make the fight happen.
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Let’s do it in November. After this fight you can retire. I grow up on your fights, and have nothing but respect for you, and I believe showed that to you George when you were in Moscow. But, it would be honor for me to share Octagon with one of the greatest fighters of all time. Let’s do it 155 lbs, or I give away 5lbs to you, cause you newer done 155. Well, it’s your choice 155 or 160, Montreal, NYC, Moscow or Abu Dhabi. Send me location my Friend #GSPvsKHABIB #ufc #mma #history #RUSSIAvsCANADA
“I saw the message on the internet. For a fighter, where I am right now in my career, the most exciting thing, also the scariest thing to do, is to fight an opponent who seems invincible,” St-Pierre said. “And Khabib is that guy right now. It was a fight that could elevate my legacy, but I knew he wanted to fight me and this message excited me, but unfortunately it takes two fighters and also the organization to make the fight happen. The UFC had other plans for Khabib.”
Nurmagomedov posted this Instagram message Thursday morning.