Georges St-Pierre, a two-division UFC champion who put mixed martial arts on the map in Canada, has announced his retirement from the sport.
“There are no tears,” he insisted.
“It takes a lot of discipline to retire on top. It was a long process in my mind, but it’s time to do it. Only a few people have done it.”
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Walking into the press conference, held by the UFC Thursday at Montreal’s Bell Centre, St-Pierre said he made a point not to bring any written notes.
“I want to do this with my heart,” he said.
“I’m here to announce my retirement. It’s hard to retire when you’re in a combat sport. I always said it’s better to do it yourself than be told to do it. You should retire on top.”
Closing his eyes, St-Pierre thanked all his coaches and those who helped him throughout his career.
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“All the people that I mentioned had a huge influence on my career,” he said.
“If it was not for them, I wouldn’t be able to be where I am.”
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The 37-year-old from Saint-Isidore, Que., last fought in November 2017 when he dethroned middleweight champion Michael (The Count) Bisping.
He gave up the 185-pound crown a month later, citing health issues — an ulcerative colitis.
“I don’t have the same hunger anymore. Even though physically I feel on top of my game, I don’t feel the same hunger anymore,” he explained.
“I could do this one fight at a time, but this business is about what’s next, not about what was.”
The Bisping fight was St-Pierre’s first time entering the octagon since stepping away from the sport four years earlier after a memorable run as welterweight champion.
“I don’t like fighting. The day of the fight was always the worst for me. I hated it,” he said, adding that he didn’t like hurting others or being hurt.
“It’s hard to explain and not a lot of people can understand it. I liked the competition, but I don’t like to fight.”
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St-Pierre, who leaves with a 26-2 record, defended his 170-pound title nine times.
— with files from The Canadian Press.