The most dedicated and disciplined athletes get burned out eventually, and UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre is no different.
With all of the success and money, St-Pierre stopped having fun fighting. The weight of winning and the daily grind of training made him no different than an average man punching the clock day in and day out for a paycheck.
The sudden loss of interest even began to affect St-Pierre's in-ring performance.
Longtime fans remember the St-Pierre of old, who had the killer instinct and finished fights.
Now, the French Canadian has gone over three years without a finish. People feel like he's relying more and more on point scoring and well-designed game plans from MMA guru Greg Jackson than actually trying to finish fights.
In December 2011, St-Pierre's entire view of fighting was dramatically changed with a serious knee injury sustained during training. It was reported that he had torn his ACL and would be on the shelf indefinitely.
St-Pierre was forced to sit on the sidelines and watch everything he had worked for pass him by. Carlos Condit was named the interim UFC welterweight champion. Anderson Silva left him in the dust in the pound-for-pound rankings, while Jon Jones and Jose Aldo gained ground.
Nothing is promised in this world. At 31 years of age, St-Pierre watched his entire career flash before his eyes. He was becoming a forgotten memory, and the fight world was already latching onto newer stars.
In an interview with MMAFighting, St-Pierre talked about coming to a crossroads in his career.
""Towards the end, I didn't have the drive anymore. I was doing it because I had to do it. I didn't have fun anymore. I lost a little bit of the love for the sport.
There is a saying in English that you don't repair something that is not broken. Sometimes I believe you have to break it yourself to repair it, to make it better. Because the sport of mixed martial arts will evolve. If I stay at the same level, they will catch up to me. I need to evolve, to stay ahead of the game. The critics are always there. I listen to the critics. I'm very critical on myself. I want to make more finishes myself. I want to be more exciting, take more risks, be more opportunistic. I've been working on that a lot."
St-Pierre will have the opportunity to unveil his new self later this year in an undisputed title bout with Condit.
Could being riskier possibly cost him the UFC title?
Fans want to see exciting fights, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is whether you win or lose.
St-Pierre is treading on dangerous ground.
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