February 21, 2019 / 4:53 PM / 4 months ago

St-Pierre retires 'at the top' of his game

UFC legend Georges St-Pierre announced his retirement on Thursday in Montreal.

FILE PHOTO: UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre gestures as he speaks during a news conference at Les Galeries de la Capitale shopping centre in Quebec City, December 13, 2013. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger

“It takes a lot of discipline to become and stay champion. It also takes a lot of discipline to stop while still feeling that you’re in the best physical and mental shape of your life, but I’ve always planned to leave the sport when I’m at the top and in good health,” St-Pierre said in a statement.

St-Pierre, 37, is a former two-division champion and, at 26-2, the most successful welterweight in UFC’s history. He holds the record for 170-pound title defenses with nine and retires with a 13-game winning streak.

St-Pierre thanked his family, fans, coaches, trainers, partners, agents and employers. He also gave a shout-out to his opponents.

“All of them are incredible athletes who brought out the best in me. I retire from competition with great pride at having had a positive impact on my sport,” he said. “I intend to keep training and practicing martial arts for as long as I live and I look forward to watching the new generation of champions carry our sport into the future.”

St-Pierre has already been in semi-retirement, of sorts. He debuted on the big stage at UFC 46 in 2004, but has fought just once since late 2013.

He dethroned Michael Bisping for the middleweight championship at UFC 217 in November 2017. He gave up the 185-pound crown a month later, citing health issues.

UFC president Dana White said Georges had cemented his legacy as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters ever.

“He beat all the top guys during his welterweight title reign and even went up a weight class to win the middleweight championship,” White said. “He spent years as one of the biggest names in MMA and remains one of the best ambassadors for the sport. He put Canada on the MMA map.”

St-Pierre was the Sports Illustrated fighter of the year in 2009 and was nominated for best fighter at the ESPY awards four times (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2018).

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