Georges St-Pierre still isn’t out of the woods with his ongoing battle with ulcerative colitis, but the former two-division UFC champion is inching ever closer to a return to full health.
“Definitely the worst has passed,” St-Pierre told MMA Fighting.
“I’m dosing down the medication that I have. The medication is anti-inflammatory, so you have to dose it down. Not in one shot, you can’t stop in one shot, but I’m dosing it down every month and soon it will be past, a story of the past. As it goes right now, pretty much all of the symptoms are almost gone.”
St-Pierre, 37, has been sidelined since capturing the middleweight title on Nov. 2017 at UFC 217 in his successful return from a four-year hiatus from mixed martial arts. In that fight, St-Pierre pulled off a harrowing come-from-behind victory over then-champion Michael Bisping to become one of only five men in promotional history to capture UFC titles in two separate divisions. St-Pierre was already widely considered to be the greatest welterweight to ever compete, having reigned over the division from 2007 until his departure in 2013.
St-Pierre has spent the majority of 2018 in a steady recovery process for his ulcerative colitis, an illness that causes inflammation of the inner lining of the large intestine which “GSP” believes he was afflicted by as a result of the weight he gained for his move up to the middleweight division to challenge Bisping for the title. For now, that recovery process is still priority No. 1 in St-Pierre’s life, but the time could come soon when St-Pierre is able to return to the Octagon once more in a bid to extend his already formidable legacy.
“I don’t want any contract to fight somebody right now,” St-Pierre said, “because the minute you sign a contract, the mental warfare starts, and stress is something that amplifies everything. So I want to make sure I deal with it, I take care of it, and when everything will be finished, I will be able to look forward. My health is the most important thing for me.
“[But I’m] absolutely not [closing the door on fighting again]. I’m keeping the door open. When I close it, then people will know. But right now it’s held open.”
That refrain is one St-Pierre has echoed several times in past months, which has sparked plenty of discussion among the fight community about the type of opponent St-Pierre could be looking for with his next fight. St-Pierre has played things coy, for the most part, saying only that he like to come back for the chance to boost his legacy. In the past, he has specifically mentioned that a move to lightweight could be an intriguing possibility for him if it meant a chance to fight the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor.
And although he has never cut down to 155 pounds, the drop to lightweight certainly seems doable. St-Pierre, who is currently promoting his new aquatic training system Hydrorevolution, told MMA Fighting on Tuesday that he is hovering around 183 pounds — a walk-around weight lighter than many of the UFC’s current lightweight contenders, including the division’s champion Nurmagomedov.
“I feel much healthier than I was. I’m about 183 pounds, 184 pounds when I wake up in the morning,” St-Pierre said. “I’m about 183, 184, that’s my natural weight. I believe everybody has an optimal weight where they can perform a physical task, [a weight] that it should be. You have a weight that is the optimal weight — that is your weight that you will perform at your best. That’s my weight. I tried to put on some weight for Bisping, but it was a mistake. I should have stayed at my actual weight, who knows if I would have fought better. But one thing is for sure, my health would not have been compromised.”
All of that leads to an obvious question: With Nurmagomedov vs. McGregor set to go down Oct. 6, is St-Pierre eyeing the winner of UFC 229’s main event as his potential next foe?
“I can’t say yet, yes or no. One thing I know is the UFC will never want me to go to 155,” St-Pierre said, laughing. “They will be scared that I will ride off into the sunset with their belt again. And I understand them. I understand them from a business standpoint.”