Following Usman’s (18-1 MMA, 13-0 UFC) third consecutive defense of the welterweight title on Saturday’s card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, he mentioned St-Pierre (26-2 MMA, 20-2 UFC) as someone he would eventually like to fight, purely for the purposes of legacy.
“Of course, I would like Georges,” Usman said at the UFC 258 post-fight news conference. “But I don’t want Georges because of money or anything like that. Like I said, I’m a competitor. I want Georges because Georges left on top. Georges can still do it. I see him training. Georges! I’m watching you! I see you training! Georges can still do it.
“So if there’s potential for that big fight and Georges wants to come back, then of course Georges can cut the line – absolutely. But I’m not necessarily worried about a big-money fight.”
Despite his dominance at 170 pounds and the fact his third-round TKO of Gilbert Burns at UFC 258 actually put Usman ahead of St-Pierre for the longest winning streak in divisional history, there’s nothing about that fight that appeals to the Canadian.
St-Pierre spoke to Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s “The Good Show” on Monday and responded to Usman by saying the matchup isn’t enough to appeal him to fight for the first time since November 2017 and cut down to welterweight for the first time since November 2013.
“To go back and give three months of my life in a training camp to get a win over Kamaru Usman doesn’t get me motivated,” St-Pierre said. “I don’t think there’s anything that would get me motivated to go back to competition now. I’m not sure.”
St-Pierre officially retired from MMA in February 2019. He said at the time that Khabib Nurmagomedov was the only fight that appealed to him, but as time has worn on and Nurmagomedov has also retired, it doesn’t seem likely that ever comes to fruition.
Even if Nurmagomedov did come up, St-Pierre isn’t sure anything can bring him back to fighting. He admitted his motivation to compete against anyone has wilted, and though he still regularly works out and hones his craft, Usman doesn’t make his clock tick.
“Try to put yourself in my shoes and try to come back,” St-Pierre said. “First, if I come back to fight Kamaru Usman, I would literally have to leave the country. I would have to bring my coaches somewhere, find a base camp, fly in training partners to get ready for Usman. But leaving my home, I don’t want to do it. I’m healthy. I’m wealthy. It’s not appealing to me to lose three months of my life, the stress, to try and get a win over Usman. As time passed by, it’s getting less and less appealing. And I don’t think there’s anybody now that would make me come back. I’m good. I will always train and be in shape.”
St-Pierre has always been intelligent about the fight game, and that hasn’t changed as he’s grown older. The former two-division UFC champion will turn 40 in May, and he’s been one of the few who managed to escape competition on top.
With a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame coming in 2021, there’s no doubt St-Pierre has made his mark. He thinks there’s always a craving to see more out of the all-time greats, though, and he said he is confident he won’t allow himself to be tempted to chase that one last high.
“It seems like people want to see me go on my shield,” St-Pierre said. “A lot of guys wait too long to retire and they kind of go on their shield, and I never wanted to do this. I wanted to compete at my best and now I’m at the point, are my best years behind me? They could be. I said to myself I don’t want to compete if my best years are behind me. Your knowledge grows, but your physicality is diminished.
“I’m 39 – going to be 40 soon. If I would have done something, it would have needed to be something that was really special that would really get me to the core of my motivation. I don’t have the same motivation right now. It’s not appealing to me. I’m a big fan. I like to watch fights. But I look at them with the stress and I’m like, ‘Hell no. I’m not doing it.’”