Let’s face it: absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Such is the case with Georges St. Pierre. MMA fans can argue until the cows come home about who the Greatest of All Time is, be it Fedor, Silva, Jones, St. Pierre, Sakuraba, or a handle of others, but at the end of the day, there isn’t much debate over who the best welterweight of all time is. For that, look no futher than three simple initials: GSP.

Say what you will about his final victory over Johnny Hendricks back in November 2013 at UFC 167 – that is was a robbery, that Hendricks deserved a rematch – but the fact remains that St. Pierre won a close split decision, and walked away from the sport as a reigning champion, something nearly unheard of in mixed martial arts, let alone the UFC. The fact that both losses on his record had been avenged only made the story more incredible: Georges St. Pierre had no unfinished business in the welterweight division.

In his absence, an unlikely candidate to rule the roost arose. The welterweight title bounced quickly from Hendricks, who defeated Robbie Lawler in a close fight for the vacant belt, to Lawler in a rematch. With Lawler it has remained, through two spectacular title defenses, against Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit. Lawler has begun to look like a dominant champ, though he’s a long way away from a GSP-like reign.

In any case, with Lawler already having laid waste to the best in the division (with the exception, perhaps, of Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson), the welterweight division seems to have lost a step or two. GSP’s presence is sorely missed, though how much of that is a thinning division, and how much of it is simple distractions, like the Conor McGregor show, is hard to say.

Still, that’s exactly why news – from GSP himself, for once – that a return to action for “Rush” is so exciting. Even with a style that became more and more calculated (arguably, safe) over the years, GSP fights were always a big deal, and always a big seller. He had a nation behind him, much like Conor McGregor today. He made great fighters look ordinary, much like a young Jon Jones.

For GSP to say that he and the UFC are talking – and that he can’t say everything, because “I have to keep some secrets” – well, of course fans are abuzz.

Should they be? Of course. Should GSP be considering a return to action at this point?

Maybe not. Probably not.

As much as it pains me to say it, and as a Canadian, GSP is my guy, we’ve all seen (far too many) examples of fighters unable to walk away at the right time. Fighters who took too much damage. That’s reason the first.
St. Pierre has spent more time in the UFC octagon than anyone in the promotion’s history save for Frankie Edgar at this point, and he has taken some considerable damage over those five plus hours of combat. Compounding that is comments GSP has made in the past about losing time, and an apparent obsession with aliens, which his coach Firas Zahabi brought up again this month, stating in a video chat that GSP actually worries about aliens quite a bit.

That, of course, brings up concerns about Dementia pugilistica, but the health of the welterweight legend isn’t the only issue here.

There’s legacy to consider as well. The legacy of St. Pierre, as it stands, is near perfect. He did what no one thought possible, and walked away on top. He did so with class, which just adds to his legend. Among his countrymen, he’s up there with the likes of Wayne Gretzky – who is essentially Canadian royalty.

Coming back? What’s left to prove. St. Pierre seems to have little interest in fighting for or holding the belt, which eliminates a fight with Lawler, one of the most intriguing – for argument’s sake – matches out there. A fight with Anderson Silva, once billed as a superfight, simply seems like just another bout given the fall of The Spider, who hasn’t won a bout since before GSP retired, and the other heavily floated option, a match with Conor McGregor, is basically a welterweight taking on a featherweight. We all saw how that went when McGregor took on Nate Diaz.

For the sake of his health and legacy, then, GSP would be wise to stay away. Sure, we miss him, and he no doubt misses competing – but sometimes, you take the near-perfect ending and run with it.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.