Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre had considered taking a hiatus from mixed martial arts as far back as last fall, according to the Tristar Gym's head trainer, Firas Zahabi.
Zahabi spoke today on Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour, per MMA Fighting, explaining why he really wasn't surprised that "Rush" decided to take an extended leave of absence and vacate the welterweight strap last week.
"I think before the (Johny) Hendricks fight, he had mixed feelings," said Zahabi. "Before the (Carlos) Condit fight, he had mixed feelings. He went back-and-forth. But the problem is, I was always cutting him off because I didn't want to talk to him about it in camp. He had three fights in 18 months (actually 12 months) so we didn't have time to have a deep discussion on it ... Does he have the motivation to fight? Right now he doesn't. Right now he has the motivation to take care of his personal issues. If he doesn't, he's going to end up depressed, alone. The guy has to balance his life. His life is to the extreme and you can't be a soldier forever. The guy has been fighting for too long, missing too many birthdays, too many weddings, too many life experiences."
The famed Canadian trainer added that he hopes GSP comes back stronger, but at the end of the day, that's the 32-year-old's decision.
As has become the case more often than not, St-Pierre was dominant in a five-round unanimous decision win over Condit in November 2012, though he was dropped with a vicious head kick in the third round.
GSP notched another clear-cut decision win over former Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz at UFC 158 this past March; however, his bout against Johny Hendricks last month did not play out in the usual fashion.
While St-Pierre landed his shots and secured a couple takedowns, fans, analysts and fighters nearly unanimously agreed that Hendricks' power strikes and stellar takedown defense were enough to dethrone the 170-pound kingpin.
However, two of the three judges on hand disagreed, awarding GSP a narrow split decision victory.
After the bout, GSP stressed that he needed some time off, and he clearly stuck to his word.
Hendricks will now fight Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 to determine the next UFC welterweight titleholder.
Will GSP ever return to dominate the best 170-pound fighters in the world, or have we seen the last of one of the UFC's biggest superstars inside the Octagon?