LAS VEGAS - Georges St. Pierre retained his welterweight title with split decision over top contender Johny Hendricks on Saturday night in UFC 167.
Hendricks seemed to have the upper hand over the Canadian champion for most of the five rounds, landing the more significant blows and limiting any damage inflicted.
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St. Pierre was able to keep it close to extend his winning streak to 12 fights. Two judges scored it 48-47 for St. Pierre, and the third had it 48-47 for Hendricks. The difference was the first round, which was scored 10-9 on two cards for St-Pierre.
"I left my soul in the Octagon tonight," St-Pierre said at the post-fight news conference.
But it was his interview with Joe Rogan inside the Octagon immediately after the fight that caused as much discussion as the final scoring.
St-Pierre said he was "stepping away" for a while, adding that there are things in his personal life that he has to address. He stopped short of saying the word "retire" when pressed by Rogan. At the news conference, assembled media sought clarification from St-Pierre, who would not elaborate further.
"I can't sleep at night, I'm going crazy," said St-Pierre, whose face was battered and bruised.
St-Pierre said he "lost my memory" at one point during the fight and that the vision in his right eye was still blurry at the news conference more than an hour later.
Hendricks was outwardly upset over the judges' decision.
"Yeah I'm the champion," he said. "I did everything win the fight, except for those two judges that didn't give it to me."
In the co-main event, former lightweight contender Rashad Evans stopped Chael Sonnen in the first round. Robby Lawler, Tyron Woodley and Ali Bagauntinov also won fights on the card.