The announcement which UFC president Dana White told the media earlier this week would be nothing was something. GSP was expected to announce his retirement yet he stopped short of saying the r-word. GSP will take an extended break and has vacated the UFC welterweight title. The champ (well former champion) left no timetable for a possible return.
GSP’s decision seemed to come more from the UFC forcing him to make a decision than anything else. Dana White has been adamant about Georges owing the UFC and would not be allowed to take a break. GSP told the media that he has too much pressure right now and can’t do another training camp. Rather than hold the UFC up the champion will step away.
GSP did make it clear that he intends to come back but never said when. GSP said that the next time he fights he will be in the blue corner as a challenger and not a champion. GSP said his health is good, even 100%. Dana already has a plan in place to crown a new welterweight champion. GSP will be back but when is the question.
GSP told the media that he becomes completely obsessed with his fights. He said that when the UFC announce him for fights that he becomes 100% obsessed with each fight. He said that it is a lot of pressure. He said that it is hard to explain how difficult the pressure is. GSP said he thinks he will be back but wouldn’t confirm that and said he doesn’t want people thinking about him while he is gone. He said he is tired, needs a break, and needs to get away from it.
I can’t recall anyone in MMA ever stepping away this way. It reminds me of when Barry Sanders stepped away from the NFL and announced his retirement. The only difference here is that GSP has not committed to retirement.
This puts enormous pressure on Anderson Silva at UFC 168. GSP is the biggest draw on pay per view for the UFC. With GSP gone, Anderson Silva now moves into that top spot. What if Silva loses? Silva could announce his retirement. Regardless he won’t be the same draw he was prior to that fight. That leaves Jon Jones as the big star. Unfortunately for the UFC he has never caught on with casual fans like past UFC superstars had. His most recent fight with Alexander Gustafsson drew a disappointing buyrate. Maybe if fans see him as the top dog his appeal will increase?
I think GSP will be back. Unfortunately we may have to wait a year to see it.