The king of the fight game walked away a UFC champ. Then his mind got to racing. But Georges St-Pierre needed to become imperfect before returning to the Octagon.

A nine-year-old boy tells his mother, father and two younger sisters goodbye, steps out the front door of their simple home on Rue Yelle, a small strip of asphalt with maybe a dozen houses on it, and leaves for school. Mom works in a nursing home when she’s not watching his sisters. Dad installs floors and carpets and teaches karate part-time.

Wearing his favorite pants, a pair of breakaway Adidas sweats, Georges St-Pierre begins what will be a 45-minute, two-kilometer walk to school. His lips are red and chapped, and he can’t stop licking them. He worries that he looks like a clown.

Following the two-lane Rang Saint-Regis, he passes some houses here and there, but mostly he just sees fields going on forever. Walking into Saint-Isidore, Quebec—population 2,000—can feel like walking into the only town on earth, especially when, like Georges, you feel fear in every step.

His school, Saint-Isidore-Langevin, is a red-brick building on the corner of a block in the middle of town. Three 12-year-old bullies wait on the school steps. They push him around. Mock his chapped lips. Take his lunch money. Grab his pants and tear them off.

There’s not much Georges can do. He’s small. He is, in his own words, nerdy. He doesn’t like fighting. He only fights if the bullies mess with his friends.

He never tells his parents. First time he did was the last. His father took him to one of the bullies’ homes, demanding money returned and apologies made. This humiliated Georges and made life more miserable at school.

He hurts.

He copes by focusing on a legendary dream: “to be the strongest man in the world.”

“That was my fantasy,” he says.

He chuckles. “I have realized that does not exist. There’s no such thing as the strongest man in the world.”

Continue reading at Bleacher Report and B/R Mag.

Have to say, this story near about killed me. More to come on that soon. For now, hope you enjoy the read. 

About the author