UFC Welterweight GOAT: Georges St-Pierre vs Kamaru Usman

Chael Sonnen
3 minute read

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Georges St-Pierre or Kamaru Usman? Let me start off by saying, a GOAT discussion is as silly as a debate over MMA rankings. But it sure is fun. 

Both attempt to categorize our favorite fighters so MMA fans something to argue about, especially on slow media days.

The primary difference between the two, ranking’s are considered ‘official’ and have a direct impact on the matchmaking going on right now at UFC headquarters. Top 10, top 5, #1...they all mean something, even if we don’t know exactly what it is.

MMA rankings are a mystery. Who creates them? An anonymous committee, one powerful individual or a high-tech algorithm? I guess there’s a freedom that comes without having to put your name on your work, but that’s not my style. I prefer to be on the hook.

Several months ago Jon Jones was the #1 ranked pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world. Today, he sits at #6 despite not having stepped foot in the Octagon in almost two years. I believe ‘inactivity’ was the explanation given for his decline, but let’s not spend too much time on this logic, it’ll make your head hurt. 

Kamaru Usman or Georges St-Pierre, UFC Welterweight GOAT

GSP’s a legend, but many younger UFC fans didn't follow his illustrious career as we did. It’s been over 4 years since UFC 217 when he beat Michael Bisping to win the UFC Middleweight Championship. Four years is an eternity in professional sports.

Recency bias is real. Kamaru Usman, the new UFC Welterweight / pound-for-pound King is fresh in our minds. His rematch with Colby Covington at UFC 268 sold out Madison Square Garden just a few short weeks ago. Somehow it feels more significant. 

The Nigerian Nightmare’s nineteen straight victories in one of the sports toughest divisions is nothing short of remarkable. He’s currently sitting 15-0 in the UFC with five title defenses, and his stellar record still has room to grow. One more win ties him with the great Anderson Silva. There’s potential in his future.

With nine consecutive Welterweight Championship titles wrapped in a 13 fight win streak, St-Pierre’s record’s set in stone. His contribution to his athletic career has ended. What's left is a legacy for the fans to judge.

At some point we must define the criteria we’re using to support our decision. If it’s purely metrics, which ones are we counting and how are they weighed? Do we account for finishes, or lack thereof? What about takedowns, cage control, submission attempts or significant strikes landed?

Is it possible to compare opponents from different eras? Is Colby Covington a more significant win than Johnny Hendricks? Does Matt Hughes trump Tyron Woodley? 

I asked your opinion on my YouTube community page and the majority of you share my view. St-Pierre comes out on top today, but will this be true 10 years from now? Maybe not. The world moves fast, 10 months from now, we may all have a different perspective…

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