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Chael Sonnen: ‘It was the worst GSP I’ve ever seen’ at UFC 217, but he’s still the ‘best in the world’

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Chael Sonnen praises GSP’s historic accomplishment against Michael Bisping at UFC 217.

MMA: Bellator NYC-Sonnen vs Silva Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Georges St-Pierre left Madison Square Garden with a bang last Saturday, submitting Michael Bisping at UFC 217 to win the middleweight title after a four-year layoff.

St-Pierre, the former welterweight champion, joins the ranks of B.J. Penn, Randy Couture and Conor McGregor to become one of the few multi-division champions in the promotion’s history.

‘Rush’ battered Bisping in the third round and eventually secured the rear-naked choke, but the Canadian fan favorite didn’t walk away scot-free. St-Pierre was busted up by Bisping’s elbows from the guard and the 36-year-old looked to be tiring in the second round.

Former three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen, who now competes under the Bellator banner, said it was the worst GSP he’s ever seen but has no doubt that St-Pierre is greatest of all time.

“People said, Georges St-Pierre with four years off, he’s not gonna be as fast as he was. Well, he wasn’t,” Sonnen said on a recent episode of Beyond the Fight, per MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew. People said he wouldn’t be big enough to just come in underneath a 185-pound Michael Bisping and just take him down like he did everyone else. Well, he couldn’t. He struggled there. People said his timing was gonna be a little bit off, he’d second guess himself after this long layoff. He did. It was the worst Georges St-Pierre I’ve ever seen, but what the world found out is Georges St-Pierre’s skills as a mixed martial artist, there’s a big gap between St-Pierre and the rest of the field. . .

“Yeah it was a rusty Georges St-Pierre, maybe a little bit slower. I thought maybe his conditioning wasn’t quite what we used to see. He’s still the best in the world.”

Sonnen, who recently beat rival Wanderlei Silva at Bellator 180, believes St-Pierre’s accomplishments set him apart from the rest of the UFC roster.

“Do not ever go into a conversation about who the greatest fighter of all time is and not come out of that saying Georges St-Pierre. . .

“It’s very hard to deny reality. It’s very hard to deny what we’re seeing. It’s very hard to deny a two time world champion in two different divisions that spans back to 2001 and has one loss. One loss since 2001. Beat all of the guys in the previous generation. Beat all of the guys of his generation. Beat all of the guys in the next generation, and left. He comes back four years later, changes weight classes and wins it again. I don’t know what more a guy needs to do. Georges St-Pierre is the greatest fighter to have ever done it.”

Following his championship win over Bisping, UFC president Dana White told reporters that GSP will defend the middleweight title against interim champ Robert Whittaker, but fans and fighters believe the pound-for-pound great will vacate the belt and possibly retire. St-Pierre himself has yet to reveal his next move.