After dominating the welterweight division for the better part of a decade, Georges St-Pierre has decided to vacate his title and walk away from MMA for the time being.
The pound-for-pound great made his announcement on Friday during a conference call with UFC president Dana White, during which he cited pressure and the quest for a "normal life" as his motivation for going on sabbatical. St-Pierre is easily one of the promotion's biggest stars and has played a huge role in the organization's rise to mainstream attention over the past seven years.
With GSP's elevated position in the sport, there are few who could remotely understand the chaotic and unique nature of being a long-reigning UFC champion.
One of the few who can relate to what St-Pierre had to say on Friday is 26-year-old light heavyweight phenom Jon Jones. The most dominant light heavyweight champion in UFC history has quickly risen to become one of the biggest pay-per-view draws on the UFC roster in addition to evolving into one of the most polarizing figures in the sport today.
If anyone can understand how heavy the proverbial crown can get, it's Jones. The New York native has experienced a rapid ascension since winning the title in 2011, and he shared his thoughts on St-Pierre's decision to walk away from the spotlight for the time being.
"There is obviously a lot of pressure," Jones told Bleacher Report. "It's life and that's the way it works. Everyone deals with pressure everyday going to work. Obviously, when you are a recognizable figure things are a little different, but it's part of life and this is what we asked for in the first place. It is what it is and I think Georges has done a great job. There is no story where there is too much pressure and he quit too soon. He's proven everything already and there's nothing left for him to do. He's dealt with the pressure awesomely. So much in fact that no of us even saw this coming.
"I think he's right where he needs to be. I don't think he's doing bad or having any issues or anything like that. I think he's right where he needs to be with taking time off or retiring. You can't argue with that. He's done everything right."
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.
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