For a long time, GSP’s place on the all-time 170-pound throne appeared secure and largely untested. But then came along a “Nigerian Nightmare,” who racked up a record 15 straight wins in the division, including five successful title defenses after he ripped the title away from Tyron Woodley in 2019.
But while Kamaru Usman was beginning to mount a strong case, even surpassing the Canadian in the eyes of some, he took a hit at UFC 278 last month, both figuratively and literally.
The physical hit came from Edwards, who rose from the ashes of what appeared to be a dead and buried title challenge in Utah late in the day, sleeping Usman with a brutal head kick in the final round.
While Usman’s journey towards potential welterweight GOAT status is certainly not dead, St-Pierre has been brought more time at the top, and he’s now assessed a fantasy clash with the man who’s responsible for that luxury.
“Rush” was in Paris this past weekend for the UFC’s first-ever event in France. At one point during fight week, St-Pierre appeared in a fan Q&A, during which he discussed Edwards’ come-from-behind victory in Salt Lake City.
“I think he won the first round, and he showed unbelievable skills in the first round to put Kamaru Usman on his back, mount him, take his back,” St-Pierre said. “He showed incredible skills right there.
“He was losing because he was losing after the second, third and fourth rounds, and he was about to lose the fifth round. But I think what makes Leon Edwards so good is his fight IQ,” St-Pierre added.
St-Pierre: Edwards Fight Would Have Been A Chess Game
After praising the Jamaican-born Brit’s triumph, which saw him collect the gold that St-Pierre defended a record nine successful times between 2008 and 2013, GSP assessed the threat that Edwards would have represented to his own dominance at 170 pounds.
Having already lauded the current champ’s fight IQ, the Canadian admitted that “Rocky” would’ve brought him a lot of trouble in what he predicted would’ve been a ‘tactical game of chess’.
“Leon would have given me a lot of trouble because he is very intelligent,” St-Pierre admitted. “It would have been like a game of chess. It would have been a tough puzzle to solve because it would be a very tactical fight.”
“He’s also so good at neutralizing his opponent’s forces. He’s very good at reducing his opponent’s forces and bringing the fight to where he’s comfortable, at getting his opponent to fight outside of his comfort zone, and I think that’s why Leon Edwards is so good,” St-Pierre concluded.
En route to the belt, Edwards amassed a 10-fight unbeaten streak, with his last loss coming at the hands of Usman back in 2015.
Should the Englishman add a second victory over “The Nigerian Nightmare” to his résumé in what appears to be an inevitable trilogy between the pair and continue to defend the belt, “Rocky” will no doubt join the discussion about the all-time welterweight greats.
How do you think a fight between Georges St-Pierre and Leon Edwards would play out?
All quotes h/t Recently Heard.