Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre is content with his decision to leave active competition and his championship belt behind, at least for the time being.
St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC), who over the weekend made his first public appearances since hanging up his gloves for an undetermined amount of time, says he’s enjoying his time away from the sport and has no regrets about his monumental career decision.
“I needed to take some time off to relax, to feel better and to have fun to do it again if I ever wanted to come back,” St-Pierre told the Ottawa Sun. “When you do something for a long time, you have a lot of pressure. People don’t realize how much pressure I have. It’s a lot of expectations.”
Since vacating the UFC belt he held for nearly six years this past December, St-Pierre has stayed away from the media and flown under the radar.
The French-Canadian’s removal from the spotlight was entirely intentional, and St-Pierre says given the time of the year it was the best thing for him, as he was provided with the rare opportunity to spend the holidays with family.
“I spent Christmas time and New Year’s with my family,” St-Pierre said. “That’s something I haven’t done for a long time. This is the first time I’ve really had nothing on my schedule. It was perfect. It was fun. It’s the first time I felt so good.
“I’m 32 years old and this is the first time I have Christmas with my family. I spent some time, but I never really had free time, total free time like I did. It was time for me to do it. I’m very happy I did it and I don’t regret any of it.”
St-Pierre went into his self-imposed hiatus from the sport following a split decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 158. The victory that marked his ninth consecutive 170-pound title defense and 19th UFC win overall, more than any other fighter in organizational history.
“Rush” has accomplished more than a majority of fighters ever will, but even with his lofty resume, St-Pierre refuses to rule out a return to the octagon. Although that likely wouldn’t happen until he first completes other goals outside of fighting.
“Because I’m an obsessive guy, I give myself a challenge which automatically will mean me working on it to obtain it,” St-Pierre said. “So right now I take a break. I don’t give myself any preference, you know? There is a chance I will come back.
“Christmas was incredible and now for 2014 we’ll see what’s going to happen. I have some projects in mind. I can’t talk about it, unfortunately.”
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Georges St-Pierre)