Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes says Georges St-Pierre should retire for good.
St-Pierre has been on hiatus since vacating his 170-pound title following a controversial win over Johny (Bigg Rigg) Hendricks at UFC 167 last November. The 33-year-old from Montreal cited unspecified personal matters, saying he needed time away from the sport.
Hendricks went on to win the welterweight crown while St-Pierre, who continues to work out, required knee surgery after an injury in training.
St-Pierre has not announced his future plans other than to say that if he comes back, it won’t be in 2014. Firas Zahabi, his longtime coach, told the MMAFighting website recently that he expects his fighter to return.
“I think there’s a lot of fire left in him,” he said of St. Pierre. “Especially since he got injured now, he’s probably more motivated than ever ... I think there’s a lot of martial arts left in him.”
But Hughes, who lost the UFC title to St-Pierre at UFC 65 in November 2006, says now may be the time for St-Pierre to finish on a winning note.
“The UFC would hate me saying this but I’m going to say it anyway,” said Hughes, now vice-president of athlete development and government relations for the UFC. “If I was GSP, I’d probably hang them up. Here I am a guy that lost my (last) two fights and I’d love to get back in there (to finish on a win). And Georges got his hand raised the last fight.
“So if I had to give advice, I’d say, ‘You want to get out? Get out.“’ The 40-year-old Hughes, a UFC Hall of Famer, prefaced his remarks by saying he is a fan of St. Pierre.
“I like him. He always gets his hand raised and he always does it with a method. But he took a punishment with Johny Hendricks and you could tell that by his face at the (post-fight) press conference.
“He’s made a lot of money. I don’t know what he makes a fight, but he’s made a lot of money. He made a lot more money than I have. And I’m retired. So he could step back, retire. He’s got plenty of money.
“And it seems like maybe he’s even lost a little bit of the drive. I wish he was more wanting to go out and finish somebody nowadays. It’s just like he’s going out there and kind of going through the moves, so I don’t think his heart’s there.
“He did get beat up last time. I don’t know if he wants to come back and take a beating like that.”
If GSP was to return to the Octagon, there will be people waiting to welcome him.
“He’s going to come back against a guy like Robbie Lawler, who’s going to hit him. And Johny Hendricks, who’s going to hit him,” said Hughes.
Hughes also cited St-Pierre branching out into movies like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
“So there’s not many reasons for him to come back ... You tell me what’s he got to come back for?”