February 24, 2019

GSP: Though the Khabib Fight Would've Been Perfect, He Ends Legendary UFC Career On His Own Terms

By Adam Martin

On Thursday afternoon at the Bell Centre in Montreal, where he vanquished many foes over the years in the center of the Octagon, former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre officially announced his retirement from the sport. The Canadian sporting superstar retires at age 37 and on a 13-fight win streak to end his career. His final record stands at 26-2, including an unheard of 20-2 in the UFC alone. He fought and defeated the world's best welterweights inside the Octagon for well over a decade, and finished his career by winning the middleweight belt with a bloody submission over Michael Bisping. He very well may be the greatest of all time.

In his official retirement press conference, GSP said he was retiring because he didn't feel like he had the same passion for fighting that he once had. He told reporters that as a fighter, if you lose your drive and motivation, you need to step away. Considering he's one of the most successful MMA fighters ever, and also known as one of the smartest minds to ever compete in the Octagon, we have to trust and respect GSP's decision to retire. GSP confirmed he still plans to train in martial arts, and you never know what could happen in the future, but at this point in time it really seems like he's done with the sport. He didn't actually retire the last time he stepped away from the sport in 2013 after he beat Johny Hendricks. This time, though, he made it official. The GSP era is officially over.

GSP will retire as one of the greatest fighters to ever compete. He's one of the rare few to walk away from the sport with his wits about him, having made a ton of money and having become super famous. He accomplished everything he ever could have wanted to in this sport. At the same time, though, he still had some unfinished business. Namely, a superfight against UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. In his retirement presser, GSP told reporters he badly wanted to fight Nurmagomedov, but the UFC couldn't come to terms with him on a deal. Having not been able to agree on the money, GSP decided this wasn't a fight worth continuing and called it quits. Some have speculated this could be posturing on GSP's part, but the fact he made his retirement official seems to quash that idea.

If it's true the UFC couldn't agree with GSP on money to fight Nurmagomedov, then the UFC royally messed up. That would have been an incredibly intriguing matchup between arguably the two most dominant grapplers in MMA history. Though Nurmagomedov's suspension until October probably threw a wrench into the timing of it all, GSP indicated he would have waited for the fight. It's unfortunate that the UFC couldn't see the promotional benefits of booking GSP against Nurmagomedov, particularly in a fight for a brand-new title at 165 lbs. If the UFC was concerned about GSP vs. Nurmagomedov tying up the lightweight title, then creating a brand new belt between weight classes would have been smart. But for whatever reason, UFC President Dana White is against 165, and the UFC blew the perfect opportunity to create a new division for the promotion. Particularly if flyweight is closed down, creating a new weight class would be perfect at this time.

GSP vs. Nurmagomedov was ripe for the making, but the UFC didn't bite. Ultimately, this would have been a fight that fans wanted to see, and if the UFC is all about pay-per-view buys then this was an absolute no-brainer. But because the money side of things couldn't be agreed on, the fight is off and GSP is retired. It's unfortunate that we won't see GSP vs. Nurmagomedov, as it would have been perfect for the fans, but it doesn't change the fact that GSP is one of the best to ever do it. He's absolutely in the top five, if not the top guy ever. Congratulations to GSP on an amazing career.

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