Georges St-Pierre may be healthy enough to fight again soon, but insists the curtain is coming down fast on his career.
The former UFC welterweight kingpin returned from a four-year layoff at UFC 217 in November of 2017 and looked better than ever. He emphatically shot down many of the criticisms that had plagued his illustrious run at welterweight.
He moved up in weight to take the UFC middleweight championship from Michael Bisping. Aside from answering the questions about whether he could move across weight classes, St-Pierre also showed a much more aggressive, risk-taking style than we'd ever seen out of him before, which lead to his first finish since 2009.
St-Pierre had been on the sidelines for four years, but had also won his prior seven bouts by way of decision, leading critics to call him calculated and boring. He shattered those critiques.
How close is Georges St-Pierre to returning?
After he defeated Bisping, St-Pierre vacated the belt because he was diagnosed with a digestive condition called ulcerative colitis. He's still dealing with the condition's effects, but is on the mend and appears to be nearly healthy enough to want to return to the Octagon again.
“I want to make sure I get past (colitis) because I feel like if I go back into it, it will start all over again and I don’t want that. It was bad, Joe. I couldn’t sleep at night, bad cramps. I stayed up all night and had sparring the next day. It was crazy man,” St-Pierre recounted during a recent appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
“I had to go to the bathroom and I had blood. You go to the bathroom and nothing come out and you see the blood. Man, what’s wrong?”
Now, however, day by day, St-Pierre is getting better, and is nearly to the point where he feels he can enter a fight camp without the distraction of colitis. It could be just a few weeks before he is ready to prepare for another fight.
What fight makes sense next?
Writing off a proposed bout with Nate Diaz as one that just doesn't make sense for him at this stage of his career, things need to start falling into place soon, as St-Pierre said that the sands of the hourglass are running out on his career.
“I just turned 37 a few days ago. I don’t have much left. For what I have left, I want to make the big fight. The fight that fans want to see," St-Pierre said. "I also want personally for me to achieve something that is unique, that is rare.”
He couldn't say specifically what form such an opportunity would take, but time and again, his thoughts drifted back to the idea of fighting at 155 pounds, challenging the likes of Conor McGregor or perhaps even fighting for the title. If he did so and won, St-Pierre would become the first athlete in UFC history to win championships in three different weight divisions.
“If I fight Nate Diaz, it’s been done before. It’s not excited for me. I would be going into that fight satisfied. I want to do something that, like the 155, I never done that before, the title or beating a certain guy that he is on the frickin’ rise," said St-Pierre.
"Could be Khabib (Nurmagomedov). Could be, I don’t know, if there is a new guy that does something that is unbeatable. Say never; I love it. When you say I cannot do that, it’s never been done before, that means if I do it it’s the first time, that excite me.”
Georges St-Pierre puts an end date on his career
St-Pierre turned 37 on May 19, so he has about three years left for the fights that excite him to take place. It's now or never.
“It’s impossible that I fight past 40. I’m not going to fight in a cage at 40 years old, man. 40 years old is finished for me, are you kidding? 40 years old, I’m a grown man. I’m not going to fight in a cage at 40 years old,” St-Pierre said emphatically.
“(So if I fight again) it has to happen fast. And if it don’t happen, I’m happy too. That, Joe, is why it needs to be something that really excite me.”