Georges St. Pierre is enjoying his time away from MMA. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre sounds like a man who is enjoying life away from the Octagon.
In his first interview since announcing his retirement during a conference call with UFC President Dana White on Dec. 13, St. Pierre told the Ottawa Sun that his hiatus has already served him well.
"I just took a break. I spent Christmas time and New Years, with my family. That's something I haven't done for a long time. This is the first time I've really had nothing on my schedule. It was perfect. It was fun. It's the first time it felt so good,” he told the Sun. “I'm 32 years old and this is the first time I have my Christmas with my family. I spent some time but I never really had free time, total free time like I did. It was time for me to do it. I'm very happy I did it and I don't regret any of it.
"So Christmas was incredible and now for 2014 we'll see what's going to happen. I have some projects in mind. I can't talk about it, unfortunately."
St. Pierre last appeared at UFC 167, where he captured a controversial unanimous decision over Johny Hendricks in Las Vegas. After the bout, the Tristar Gym product announced his desire to take a break from the sport, and he reiterated those plans during the UFC conference call a little more than a month later. With the welterweight title vacated, Hendricks will square off with Robbie Lawler for the belt on March 15 in Dallas.
St. Pierre told the Ottawa Sun that he believed the judges made the correct call in his win over Hendricks. However, he also maintains that his current leave of absence is completely necessary.
"You know, when you do something for a long time, you have a lot of pressure. People don't realize how much pressure I have. It's a lot of expectation. You take a lot of risk. You get so nervous because you care about it,” he said. "There is so much on the line. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. But I want to inform you, that sometimes makes you go a little bit on the edge, you know.
"So I needed to take time off to relax, to feel better and to have fun to do it again if I ever wanted to come back."
When St. Pierre might make a comeback remains a mystery. According to the Sun, he was in Edmonton to make an appearance with the Edmonton Rush of the National Lacrosse League. However, it did not sound as though he is ready to step away from active competition for good.
“"I like to do this stuff once in a while. I like to meet my fans. But I'm not going to do this for the rest of my life. I'm an athlete," he said.