You can officially rule out any prospects of an Octagon return in 2014 for longtime former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. GSP announced via his Twitter account that he suffered a torn left ACL in training and will need to undergo surgery.
St-Pierre, who became one of the organization’s most popular fighters and biggest PPV draw, vacated his title after a ninth successful defense against Johny Hendricks at UFC 167. St-Pierre was fortunate to retain his belt thanks to a controversial split decision and announced that he needed some time away from the sport for personal reasons.
He followed through on his post-fight comments in the Octagon by announcing he was giving up his belt but refused to say he was retiring. He’s continued to train and has remained connected to the sport by working out at the Tristar Gym and helping out the likes of Francis Carmont and his protege Rory MacDonald.
Just a couple of weeks ago, UFC President Dana White continued to express a high level of confidence that St-Pierre would be making a return, and Hendricks, who won the vacant title in a thrilling fight against Robbie Lawler at UFC 171, expressed a desire for a rematch. “Bigg Rigg” says he has unfinished business with the former longtime champion.
St-Pierre is vowing to work hard in rehab and return at 100 per cent but any return won’t happen now until 2015 at the earliest. This is his second ACL injury in the last few years. He suffered a torn right ACL in 2011.
While St-Pierre has never officially ruled out a UFC return, he has been vocal about how things needed to change for him to come back. Most notably, the former champion has been banging the drum about the organization having stricter drug testing in place.
This year is shaping up as a very challenging one for the promotion with a number of champions currently on the shelf for significant periods of time due to injuries. Former longtime middleweight champion Anderson Silva recently ruled out a 2014 return from a broken leg, so St-Pierre was the one huge draw who could have been in play for later in the year. Now that option’s gone.
Unfortunately, the wait will be a much longer one and it truly remains to be seen whether he will ever compete again inside the Octagon. Given St-Pierre’s resolve in the past, it would be hard to bet against him.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports