It's no real secret that Georges St-Pierre, UFC superstar and the greatest welterweight who has ever competed in MMA, has been growing a little bored with the game.
Before his knee injury in 2011, which put him on the shelf for over a year, there were already rumblings that he might be on his way to a lightened workload or even early retirement. When he returned, he pretty unabashedly began admitting that he hated media obligations and essentially anything that isn't directly helpful to him in the cage.
Maybe he and Nick Diaz weren't so different after all.
And now, once again, we're heading into a UFC card headlined by the great Canadian, and we have a host of questions. Sure, he's fighting Johny Hendricks, a guy that people seem to think has a decent shot to score an upset, but the talk is about the "big plans" the champion has once he's done with Hendricks.
A recent interview, via Adam Guillen Jr. of MMA Mania, with his longtime coach and confidant Firas Zahabi revealed that GSP could be ready to shock the world with something big. No one has an inside track on what that might be, though.
A move to middleweight to finally satiate those who have wanted it for years?
A surprise drop to lightweight in an effort to become a two-division champion?
A willingness to meet Anderson Silva in a catchweight bout, something many have wanted and would still like to see even with some of the luster gone?
If even more recent talk is to be believed, maybe it's an in-cage retirement that's coming Saturday?
There's actually no way to know given St-Pierre's secrecy and the cryptic nature of most of the comments being made by those in the know.
One thing is for sure though: St-Pierre is getting close to his expiration date.
Obviously not physically, as he's in his prime and still as good as anyone in the history of the sport. Instead, perhaps he's reaching the expiration date he set for himself as a mixed martial artist.
St-Pierre is a well-read, intelligent man—a student of martial arts in every sense of the phrase. He knows that his chosen career isn't one that everyone can survive into their 40s, and it's probably a safe bet to suggest he's aware of how little damage he's really taken to this point.
If he beats Hendricks at UFC 167, he could get out of the game without suffering much beyond a few lumps and bumps over his career. At 32 years old, with enough endorsement money to fill Scrooge McDuck's vault and a legacy that won't be equaled for years, what more would there be?
The fact is that GSP is the best welterweight ever, and he has nothing left to prove. His plans for a life after Hendricks could be just about anything, but leaving at the top of the game would be both unprecedented and very much deserved.
It's just another reason to look forward to a very strong offering from the UFC Saturday night. Given his long run of decisions and propensity for the occasional dull fight, this might be as interesting as St-Pierre has been in years.
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