When last we saw our favorite Canadian welterweight champ, he was on the cusp of shucking the bonds of championship-hood – which he did via media conference call not long after he vacated the Octagon a battered and bruised mess. Was Georges St. Pierre tired of the grind required to be an elite competitor? Did he reach the end of his rope, sustain one beating too many, and deal with more sleepless nights than he’d cared to? Yes on all counts. So GSP abdicated his throne and was gone, gone to the four winds, and we’ve been left wondering if his story will have a happy ending.

Well, St. Pierre made a public appearance at a lacrosse game in Edmonton (in Alberta, Canada) this weekend, and after addressing the public and the press, it appears the erstwhile UFC fighter is… much happier.

As per reporter Terry Jones of the Ottawa Sun, who was on hand to see “Rush” smile:

“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.

“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.”

Whether GSP’s current status of “semi-retired” turns into full-fledged retirement or turns into an eagerly-awaited comeback, the fact of the matter is the self-imposed break seems to be doing the top 170-pound fighter some good, so good for him. Even the best need to take breaks sometimes.