Georges St-Pierre is reluctant to take credit for being the welterweight GOAT despite being considered by many to be the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all-time.
St-Pierre believes his accomplishments speak for themselves but claims current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman may very well surpass him in the long run as ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ represents a new breed of champions.
“In terms of accomplishments, it’s different,” St-Pierre — who captured two UFC titles and defended his welterweight title nine times before retiring in 2019 — told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani in a recent interview (h/t MMA Junkie). I’ve done stuff that I believe he hasn’t done yet. But I’m gonna tell you the truth and as painful as it could be for any athlete to admit it, the athletes of today are normally better than the athletes of yesterday. As good as the athletes of today are, the athletes of tomorrow will be better. That’s how it is. I don’t care who you are. Even if you’re Usain Bolt, you beat the world record, in a few years there will be another guy that comes and beats your record. I don’t think it’s because the guys are better, it’s because the technology is better and it’s the same thing in mixed martial arts.”
“We cannot measure the performance like in sprinting or in weight lifting, but we can only speculate and, of course, time for time, maybe he didn’t win 11 (title fights), but he’s raising the bar. And if I don’t admit that, that means I’m insulting the entire UFC roster. That means I’m saying the sport is regressing, and it’s not true. I believe the sport is getting better. Do I feel that if I go back in my prime and I could fight Kamaru Usman, I do think, yes, I could have done it. However, I know for a fact that as time goes by, guys get better.”
‘Rush’ went on to add that his legacy may even be forgotten by some as the sport continues to grow and evolve.
“Mixed martial arts is a sport about what’s next, and it’s always been like that,” St-Pierre said. “The champion that will come after Kamaru Usman, we will promote him as the ‘best guy ever’ who’s better than Georges St-Pierre, who’s better than Kamaru Usman, but it’s the same thing.
“Now we have Kamaru Usman, we have Israel Adesanya – we don’t talk about Anderson Silva anymore. We talk about Israel Adesanya, and that’s OK. That’s how the sport is, and we have to accept it. I know how it is, and we like to be remembered for the stuff that we’ve done, we put a lot of effort into it, but that’s the reality, and I accept it. I make peace with it. It was hard in the beginning, but I make peace with it.”
GSP defended his title nine times during his reign as champion while Usman recently set the record for the most consecutive wins in welterweight history (13) with his third-round TKO victory over Gilbert Burns at UFC 258.
Usman will return to the Octagon on April 24 to defend his welterweight title against Jorge Masvidal in the UFC 261 main event at VyState Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.