Georges St-Pierre does not quit; that much is abundantly clear.
The longtime UFC welterweight champion recently tore his left ACL while training, and he has since undergone surgery and began to rehab from the injury.
The Canadian mixed martial artist took this sentiment a step further in a recent interview with The Globe and Mail's Neil Davidson, saying:
It’s not a problem for me...Anyway, I didn’t plan to come back to competition before 2015. And if I want to come back, when I want to come back, I’ll do it again. I’ll have all the tools to do it again. I’m not going to be less strong or less athletic — I’m going to be just better...I’ll have two bionic knees.
The spirit of a champion never dies, I suppose, and GSP once again shows the mettle that made him such a dominant fixture atop the UFC's welterweight division.
Aside from the injury, this quote from GSP contains a valuable bit of information for fans across the globe. He doesn't plan—and never planned—to return to action before 2015.
Since his last fight took place at UFC 167 in November 2013, this means that he will have taken roughly one-and-a-half years off by the time he returns to the UFC Octagon (if he decides to do so at all).
During his chat with Davidson, GSP said that his recovery from his previous surgery will help him get back to full strength quickly and efficiently this time around. That said, "Rush" is not hurrying the recovery process.
"I know the way now. It’s going to be even better," St-Pierre said. "But the thing is you can’t go faster than your body heals. I don’t want to go too fast.”
Should GSP decide to return, he will enter a 170-pound division that has vastly changed from his time as champ.
St-Pierre's most recent challenger, Johny Hendricks, now wears the championship strap, and there is a line of killers awaiting their shot at UFC gold. Suddenly, nobody feels safe inside the UFC's welterweight divisions, and fighters such as Rory MacDonald, Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler, Jake Ellenberger and Hector Lombard can all make a claim for a title shot within a fight or two.
Woodley will face MacDonald June 14 at UFC 174 in what appears to be the most clear-cut No. 1 contender's bout, but Ellenberger faces Lawler a month earlier in May at UFC 173. If either Ellenberger or Lawler wins in dramatic, impressive fashion, a case could be made for a title shot from the victor's camp, as well.
The landscape has changed, and times are volatile inside the UFC's welterweight division, but one thing is certain.
Having GSP back in the mix would be pretty awesome. There are fun matchups and legitimate challenges for the former champ, and his recovery and return would make one heck of a comeback tale.
From the sounds of this latest interview, however, any plans to return are in the distant future, and anything can happen in the meantime. For now, let's enjoy the welterweight division for what it is: a stacked class of superb athletes with everything to prove.
That sounds fun, doesn't it?