Few could blame Georges St-Pierre for going out on the highest of high notes, and that includes his friend and former training partner Patrick Cote.
The recently retired Cote has spent plenty of time with his fellow French Canadian over the course of their 15-year fighting careers, and he was in attendance at Madison Square Garden to see St-Pierre’s comeback bout at UFC 217. In the main event of that show, “GSP” submitted Michael Bisping to become the middleweight champion and one of four fighters to capture UFC titles in two divisions.
Appearing on The MMA Hour on Monday, “The Predator” was thrilled to see St-Pierre make a triumphant return to the Octagon after a four-year hiatus, though he doesn’t expect the longtime welterweight king to hang around at 185 pounds.
Cote challenged for the middleweight title himself back in 2008 and he doesn’t like St-Pierre’s chances against some of the division’s current contenders due to the size disparity.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Bisping,” Cote said. “I like this guy, he’s a worker, he’s an amazing fighter — but I think that (Georges) had a great opportunity to become champion. But Georges against Whittaker, Georges against a big guy like Romero, stuff like that, I don’t know. Georges is a super athlete, but he doesn’t have anything to prove against those big guys, so I think he’s not going to fight at 185 anymore.”
Asked if this could be the last time that St-Pierre competes altogether, Cote echoed the sentiments of Kenny Florian, another GSP associate who doesn’t think that the 36-year-old fighter has anything left to prove.
“I think I will not be surprised if (St-Pierre) said, ‘Okay, that’s over. I just wanted to feel that feeling again.’ And you know why I say that, is because it took him so much time to get out of the cage,” Cote said. “He was staying in the cage and he was kind of feeling everything he was able to grab about all the emotion. He was in the cage for almost 20 minutes after the fight, so he was looking away, looking at everything, and he looked like he was grabbing all the energy and just to say, ‘Alright, that was that, I did it. And now I’m not going to miss that anymore.’”
Still, Cote can’t deny that the New York crowd’s reaction to St-Pierre was louder than he expected, and he went as far as to compare the cheers to those that St-Pierre used to receive for his legendary appearances at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. Add in the fact that UFC 217 reportedly drew the best pay-per-view numbers of the year for the UFC, and it’s easy to see why fans are clamoring for more now that St-Pierre has returned.
Cote thinks it will take a special challenge to coax his friend into another fight, and he’s not convinced it will necessarily happen at middleweight or welterweight.
“Georges is a superstar. It’s unreal after all those things that happened in the last four years, he got the response like that, about fans, about pay-per-view buys. It’s just unreal, especially here in Canada,” Cote said. “Georges came back to make history. That’s what he wanted, to come back after four years. Nobody did that, and he’s winning the title.
“If he’s coming back, he’s gonna come back to make history again.
“I think that if you want to do that, he has to take another belt. And I don’t know if he’s going to be able to make 155, but it’s not going to be like before — eight, nine, or 10 months, take time. But if he’s coming back and it’s not against Conor (McGregor) for a superfight or something like that, I don’t know the reason for him to come back. He doesn’t want another belt at 170. It’s not going to make any sense, and seriously, it’s not going to make the same attention if he’s fighting Woodley or anybody else at 170. There’s no interesting matchup for Georges, and I’m not talking about the talent at 170, I’m just talking about money-wise. There’s no fight for Georges (at 170) that is very interesting.”