Every time Georges St-Pierre has stepped into the cage for the UFC, his demeanor has been technical, precise and calculated.
GSP's study habits surpassed those of his peers, as evidenced by his near-flawless execution in all aspects of mixed martial arts. He was a man who paid attention to every nuance of the sport, who dissected the minute details many fighters would overlook.
More than two months after taking an indefinite hiatus from MMA competition, the longtime UFC welterweight champion opened up on these tendencies, acknowledging that he has obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In an interview with Wendy Mesley of CBC News, St-Pierre opened up on how he dealt with the disorder:
As a competitor, as a fighter, it's a good thing to have it because it makes you better, because you completely obsess about being a better martial artist. Every day, everything you do is oriented toward a goal. This same obsession I had about my work, my job, to make me better, it was going to drive me crazy. That's why I took that break.
Though no one can question GSP's bravery in going public with his condition, not everyone is completely convinced he actually suffers from OCD because there was no mention of a clinical diagnosis. Fightland's Jeff Harder, for one, pointed out that the Canadian star could simply have an obsessive-compulsive personality.
Official classification aside, St-Pierre's obsession ultimately became too much for him to bear, ruining his sleep habits and general quality of life. In turn, the poster boy for the world's largest MMA promotion stepped away from the sport—vacating his title in the process—to focus on his mental well-being.
Now, with his UFC obligations put on hold, St-Pierre told Mesley he feels refreshed and rejuvenated—better than he has felt in years:
I feel very good. I had my first New Year's and Christmas with my family—I mean a real one. I can spend as much time (with them) as I want. I don't have to go away because I have a fight coming up or training, because when I was competing, I was completely obsessed about it.
St-Pierre's disorder helps to explain both his exit from the sport and his declining performance in recent fights. He nearly lost his belt in a November title defense against Johny Hendricks, and also suffered significant damage at the hands of former No. 1 contender Carlos Condit back in 2012.
Now, GSP is taking care of himself, mind and body alike. If fight fans ever see him compete inside the Octagon again, it's more likely they will see the St-Pierre of old—the one who overwhelmed his opponents with explosiveness and athleticism.
For now, though, it appears he is more than content taking some time off.