Georges St-Pierre understands why UFC were reluctant to grant him a mouth-watering bout with Khabib Nurmagomedov and said it would take a "180-degree turnaround" to convince him to fight again.

It has been almost two and a half years since GSP last fought in the Octagon when he defeated Michael Bisping to win the middleweight title.

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Just 34 days later the Canadian had vacated the belt, which perhaps explains the company's reluctance to push ahead with a bout with lightweight champion Khabib.

St-Pierre, who last year announced his retirement, pushed for a fight fans have been clamouring for but says he can see it from the viewpoint of UFC.

"For me, it was because I considered Khabib right now the best fighter in the world," he told ESPN . "And he wanted to fight me as well. So, I thought it was a good fan fight.

"It you look on the UFC's side, if I put myself in their shoes, they didn't want to take the risk of me winning the title and then vacating again."

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So is that it for GSP, who is a candidate to be considered the greatest of all time given his 26-2 record and the fact that he has won titles in two divisions?

"It would take a 180-degree turnaround," he said. "I'm the happiest man in the world. An athlete has a window. You want to retire from the sport. You don't want the sport retiring you."