Earlier this week, we brought you the story of an MMA fighter who hung on too long and ended up getting beaten into a fine paste by a younger opponent when Cain Velasquez got smashed by Francis Ngannou.
Another MMA legend seems to have heeded the lesson without needing his head pounded in, as Georges St. Pierre, one of the greatest cage fighters of all time, reportedly is about to retire.
Ariel Helwani of ESPN tweeted that St. Pierre is going to have a press conference in Montreal where he will make it official Thursday morning.
Georges St-Pierre will officially announce his retirement from MMA tomorrow morning at a press conference in Montreal, multiple sources told ESPN. GSP had hoped to secure a super-fight w/ Khabib. Once that didn’t materialize, he decided it was time to walk away. More shortly.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 20, 2019
According to Helwani, St. Pierre had been hoping to secure a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, but when that didn’t come together, he decided to simply walk away from the sport.
Nurmagomedov is the undisputed lightweight champion of the world, while St. Pierre fights at welterweight, so deciding on a weight — either at a full division limit or at an undetermined “catch weight” somewhere in between the light- and welterweight limits — might have submarined the negotiations.
On Wednesday, however, Nurmagomedov indicated he’s more than willing to fight St. Pierre for the legend’s last hurrah, saying on Instagram that he’s willing to move up as many as five pounds to create more of a sporting contest.
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Let’s do it in November. After this fight you can retire. I grow up on your fights, and have nothing but respect for you, and I believe showed that to you George when you were in Moscow. But, it would be honor for me to share Octagon with one of the greatest fighters of all time. Let’s do it 155 lbs, or I give away 5lbs to you, cause you newer done 155. Well, it’s your choice 155 or 160, Montreal, NYC, Moscow or Abu Dhabi. Send me location my Friend 📍 #GSPvsKHABIB #ufc #mma #history #RUSSIAvsCANADA
Nurmagomedov said he would even go to St. Pierre’s hometown of Montreal to make the fight, so confident is he in his ability to beat the once-great champion.
But as it stands, St. Pierre is 37 years old, turning 38 in May, and advanced age in a young man’s game is a fine way to get pulped — just look at what happened to Velazquez.
Indeed, St. Pierre first hung up the five-ounce gloves in 2013 before coming back in 2017 to defeat Michael Bisping.
But his first championship run happened way back when George W. Bush was president. There’s something to be said for acknowledging Father Time.
All the same, a St. Pierre-Nurmagomedov superfight would be a license to print money for all involved, especially if the fight happened in Montreal.
Unfortunately, it seems St. Pierre’s mind is made up, as he issued a brief statement to ESPN on the subject.
“I saw what Khabib wrote, and I appreciate it very much,” St. Pierre said. “Unfortunately, these decisions aren’t up to us. I will address everything at the press conference tomorrow.”
Let’s face it. On paper, the thought of a fight between St. Pierre and Nurmagomedov would be one for the ages. But in practice, there’s just a little too much risk that the whole affair would be over in 26 seconds and the legacy of a true champion would be tainted ever so slightly by fans’ last memory of him being such abject humiliation.
We’ll all learn more Thursday when St. Pierre holds his press conference. But it looks like one of the greatest careers in the sport is finally coming to an end.
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