Kamaru Usman recently broke Georges St-Pierre’s record of 13 consecutive wins in the UFC’s welterweight division, and he did so in spectacular fashion. “The Nigerian Nightmare” was able to defeat the then-#1 contender, Gilbert Burns, via second-round TKO at UFC 258. After the win, Usman demanded that the MMA world “put some respect” on his name. Some people were quick to oblige, even to the point of placing him over Georges St-Pierre in the all-time greatest UFC welterweights list.
Whenever asked about where he feels his place is on this list, Usman has consistently thrown his hands up and essentially said, ‘Leave me out of it.’ He is fine with allowing the public to decide where he sits on that list and other all-time lists, especially once his career is all said and done. However, during a more in-depth discussion on the topic with ESPN recently, the reigning welterweight champion could not resist but to poke a hole in the argument for placing St-Pierre as the welterweight GOAT.
The primary reason for people crowning St-Pierre as the greatest UFC welterweight ever over Usman is because of the wide gap in title defenses between the two. St-Pierre had nine successful welterweight title defenses, which is three times as many defenses as Usman currently has. Usman took the time to explain how this narrative is overlooking one crucial piece of historical information.
“If you think about it this way, GSP fought for the title in only, what, his fourth UFC fight? I mean, if you go back and you gave me that title shot in my fourth UFC fight and I was the champion, then all of these fights would have been defenses. So at the end of the day, he did what he did with his opportunity, and I’m doing what I’m doing with my opportunity. Because I had to fight eight, nine times before I even got a title shot? And so I’m maximizing my opportunities. That’s the most important thing. Yeah, he did what he had to do with his, and he solidified his legacy. And that’s what I’m trying to do with mine.”
Dana White Supports Notion That Usman Had A Tougher Path
Georges St-Pierre has also remained passive on this discussion, only offering that fighters evolve over time. With this being so, it is only natural that this generation of talent will be more skilled than previous generations and that this pattern will continue ad infinitum.
Another part of the sport’s evolution is the depth of talent in general. UFC President Dana White seems to think that the level of competition that Usman has defeated, title fight or not, needs to also be considered in the welterweight GOAT discussion.
“I agree,” White responded in a TSN interview when asked if Usman had a tougher road to the title. “The division is stacked with killers right now. Like I said, the fight with him and Colby Covington…love him, or hate him, or whatever your deal is with him, is one of the best fighters in the world: very, very good fighter. And that fight was incredible. Both guys had to dig deep in that fight. It’s one of the best fights I’ve ever seen ever.”
Georges St-Pierre has been officially retired since 2017 and has not competed in the welterweight division since 2013, so he is done making his case for being the welterweight GOAT. Usman, on the other hand, is still very much in his prime and on his way to continuing strengthening his argument with every passing victory. At UFC 261 this Saturday, the current welterweight kingpin will look to add the first two-time casualty to his list of conquests in Jorge Masvidal as he continues to “lap” the welterweight division en route to potentially being considered the consensus welterweight GOAT down the road.
What are your thoughts on Kamaru Usman’s and Dana White’s comments? Do they make legitimate points about the welterweight GOAT argument?