In a recent interview with UFC.com, legend of the game Georges St-Pierre has shared with the world who he believes is the greatest MMA fighter of all time. An interesting question, considering St-Pierre himself is many fans’ GOAT.
The Canadian was unstoppable in his hay day, claiming both the welterweight and middleweight titles in his 28-fight career. In the 12 years he was active, he lost only twice, giving him a hugely impressive record of 26-2 with eight knockouts and six submissions.
In 2017, five years after retiring, he returned to the Octagon for his final fight against fan favourite Michael Bisping, defeating the Brit via a rear naked choke.
However, GSP did not choose himself as the GOAT as some UFC fighters might. In fact, his choice harks back to the genesis of UFC, when tournaments would take place in small halls and fights could last for up to 36 minutes.
In his interview, St-Pierre also commented on the subjectivity of the MMA GOAT debate, making it clear that fans all look for different things in their favourite fighters.
“What does being the best of all time mean? If it’s to compare every athlete who competed at their time and who was the most dominant at their time, who had the most achievements, for me it’s Royce Gracie."
Gracie was a three-time UFC champion, fourth degree Brazilian Ju-Jitsu black belt and has a special place in the UFC Hall of Fame, as well as the hearts of many long-term MMA fans.
This legend of the game was not always the most entertaining to watch, especially to casual fans, but the games of wrestling chess in which he was so often involved captivated true lovers of the MMA art.
GSP went on to say: “If you talk about who’s the strongest guy, if you would put everybody in the cage, who would come out alive, I think it would maybe be Fedor Emelianenko in his prime. If you talk about the more flamboyant guy, the one who did some crazy stuff that you only see in movies and stuff like that, I would say maybe a guy like Anderson Silva or Vitor Belfort. If you say the more well-rounded guy, I would say maybe Demetrious Johnson. If you ask about who’s the guy who faced the most adversity, maybe Jon Jones. But whoever you name, it’s a subjective thing, it’s an opinion."
All of these fighters lay a solid claim to be part of the UFC GOAT conversation, with each having fan bases that would back their fighter over the others. However, GSP makes it clear that he does not believe that the greatest MMA fighter of all time has been born yet.
He claims that, with technology now widely available across much of the globe, those who wish to learn an armbar or a choke no longer need to attend a class in person. “Now you can learn it in two minutes watching on the internet by a guy who lives in a different country from you,” he says. “The further we go into the future, the better the guys will be."
For now, however, St-Pierre puts Royce Gracie at the top of the pile, correctly pointing out: “There were no weight classes, they were fighting three times a night and there were head-butts and crazy things you could do back then.”
He re-enforces the argument that, while technically and athletically there will most likely be better fighters than Gracie in the future, fans can never truly compare modern day MMA fighters to those who fought in its early days.News Now - Sport News