Six years after his retirement, Georges St-Pierre is returning to his roots. Highly enthusiastic, the mixed martial arts legend will participate in a special UFC event in December.
Be careful, don’t be mistaken. At 42, the St. Isidore native won’t be thrown into the octagon as part of a proper mixed martial arts fight, as he has for so long. In fact, he’s only done it once in the last decade.
This duel, which will be presented on December 14 as part of the UFC Fight Pass Invitational 6, is a ground fight aimed at obtaining a submission. We also speak of grappling match, in the jargon of combat sports.
The day after the announcement in Las Vegas, GSP took some time to talk to us. On the other end of the line, he displays both contagious good humor and well-calculated reasoning.
“I’m very happy,” he said in an interview with La Presse. I’m not coming back to prove that I’m the strongest man in the world. Jiu-jitsu is a very different sport. There are no blows to the head, so the risk of concussion is reduced. »
“I will train my whole life in mixed martial arts…karate, muay thai, boxing. But if I want to fight, at this stage of my life, it will be more in grappling. »
“It’s also an avenue for fighters who still want to fight, make money and have fun with UFC fans and family,” he said.
For the moment, the name of St-Pierre is the very first to appear on the event map. We do not yet know the identity of his opponent, something that will logically be announced in the coming months.
“My match is a bit of a novelty. A match that fans want to see. I don’t compete to be champion: there are younger and more specialized ones than me. I want to make a fight that will interest the fans. »
All smiles in front of the American sports media, he assured that he was in great shape – and that he would take training very seriously. “It helps me be a better person,” he told us. It’s a lifestyle. For me, it’s therapeutic. »
Called to justify the interest of a jiu-jitsu match for UFC fans, St-Pierre argued that more people can practice it. According to him, it is a martial art that deserves to be known.
“Actually, at first, MMA had a hard time getting accepted. People did not understand what was happening on the ground. So doing clinch, throwing, it will help me educate and promote this aspect of the sport so that they understand. »
And to do this, Georges St-Pierre will have the elite in his camp. It is John Danaher, a renowned jiu-jitsu instructor whom he knows well, who will take care of his preparation. Danaher leads what GSP calls “the best team in the world”.
Thus, the former champion plans several round trips between the Danaher camp (in Austin, Texas), and Montreal. “I’m going to give 100%. It’s going to be tough, but fun,” St-Pierre said.
Over the past few days, St-Pierre has been training with Twitter boss Elon Musk, who could fight Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg in a UFC-sponsored gala. However, he wants to calm the rumor mill.
GSP (26-2) was a two-time welterweight champion during his UFC career, including a record five-year reign between 2008 and 2013. He also won the middleweight title at a final fight in 2017, before retiring.
And… this jiu-jitsu fight, is it an exception or the beginning of a second phase for his career?
“I plan to do several, but I’m going one at a time,” he smiles on the other end of the line.