An all-time MMA great has called it quits. Two-weight UFC champion Georges St-Pierre has made the decision to retire from mixed martial arts, announcing it a press conference on Thursday.

“It takes a lot of discipline to become and stay champion. It also takes a lot of discipline to stop while still feeling that you’re in the best physical and mental shape of your life but I’ve always planned to leave the sport when I’m at the top and in good health,” St-Pierre said in a statement per MMA Fighting. “I want to thank my family, my fans, my coaches, trainers and training partners, my sponsors and my agents for their indefectible support during all these years.

“I will forever be grateful for the work of Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, as well as Dana White and all UFC employees for giving me the opportunity to showcase my skills before the world, from UFC 46 to UFC 217. I also want to thank each of my opponents. All of them are incredible athletes who brought out the best in me. I retire from competition with great pride at having had a positive impact on my sport. I intend to keep training and practicing martial arts for as long as I live and I look forward to watching the new generation of champions carry our sport into the future.”

GSP hasn’t featured in the Octagon since capturing the UFC middleweight title against Michael Bisping at UFC 217, adding to his legacy as one of the most dominant welterweight champions we’ll ever see.

However, that move up in weight class led to health problems for the fighting pride of Montreal.

St-Pierre relinquished his middleweight belt after suffering from ulcerative colitis which was linked to him gaining weight to compete at 185lbs.

Despite butting heads in recent times, UFC President Dana White was nothing but glowing with praise for St-Pierre’s time in the sport.

“Georges has cemented his legacy as one of the pound-for-pound greatest fighters ever,” White said in a statement. “He beat all the top guys during his welterweight title reign and even went up a weight class to win the middleweight championship. He spent years as one of the biggest names in MMA and remains one of the best ambassadors for the sport.

“He put Canada on the MMA map.”

Similarly, GSP’s peers seldom had a bad word to say about him.

“Rush” was linked to fighting UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov; a chance for GSP to win another belt in a third weight class – something unprecedented in the sport.

Both fighters were interested, but the fight never came to fruition.

Nurmagomedov was among the leading UFC competitors to speak highly of St-Pierre.

With wins over top names such as the aforementioned Bisping, Matt Hughes (x2), BJ Penn (x2), Josh Koscheck (x2), Johny Hendricks, Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit, Sean Sherk, Jake Shields and more. St-Pierre is rightly considered among the all-time greats of the sport.

Fighters Only wishes nothing but the best for Georges St-Pierre in his future endeavours. Happy retirement!