If GSP Isn’t MMA’s GOAT, He’s Certainly In The Conversation

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Georges St-Pierre
Image Credit: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

On Thursday, former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre officially announced his retirement from MMA. The Canadian sporting icon made the announcement at the Bell Centre in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, officially ending the career of one of the greatest mixed martial artists to ever step foot in the cage.

Naturally, it’s fair to ask the question: Is GSP MMA’s GOAT? He’s certainly in the conversation, as his resume is nothing short of stunning

In addition to being one of the few two-division champs in UFC history, GSP holds numerous UFC records. As you’d expect from one of the sport’s all-time dominant wrestlers, GSP holds the record for most takedowns landed in UFC history, with 90. Perhaps surprisingly, he also holds the UFC record for most strikes landed, with 2,591, nearly 500 more than the next fighter, Frankie Edgar. His career record ends at 26-2, including a 20-2 mark in the Octagon alone. He ended his career on a 13-fight win streak, with his last loss coming all the way back in 2007 to Matt Serra. He only had one other loss, to Matt Hughes, and GSP avenged both losses. In addition, GSP holds the UFC record for most victories in title fights with 13, including a record nine straight title defenses of his welterweight gold before vacating it in 2013.

What makes his records even more impressive is that he fought the best fighters in the world for well over a decade. GSP’s list of victories includes Michael Bisping, Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit, Jon Fitch, BJ Penn (twice), Jake Shields, Dan Hardy, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg, Ivan Menjivar, Thiago Alves, Johny Hendricks, Josh Koscheck (twice), plus the aforementioned Serra and Hughes, amongst others. That’s an incredible resume, to say the least, and it stacks up well against any other fighter’s resume in this sport’s history.

In addition to all of his records, GSP was also a tremendous ambassador at a time when the UFC was trying to become a mainstream, accepted sport. He was respectful, well spoken and polite, just like you’d expect from a Canadian, and he was one of the most vocal fighters against the use of performance-enhancing drugs. He carried himself with dignity and class and didn’t need to use trash talk to sell his fights. Although many of his fights went the distance, GSP showed throughout his career that he was a smart, intelligent fighter and he should be commended for walking away with his wits about him.

There’s a good argument to be made that GSP is the GOAT, but if he isn’t, he has to be in the conversation along with fighters such as Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, Randy Couture, Fedor Emelianenko, Demetrious Johnson and Daniel Cormier. Really, the GOAT argument is very subjective, and any of those fighters would be a good choice. I’d have no problem with someone saying GSP was the best to ever do it, but he’s at least in the top-five.

Although GSP’s decision to retire must be respected, it is a shame he is leaving the sport with some unfinished business. Namely, a fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. GSP wanted this fight badly, but the UFC had other plans, and now we’ll never see it. We won’t see him fight Tyron Woodley, either, and the Silva fight that fans wanted to see for years won’t happen, either. But GSP says he’s at peace with all the what ifs, and believes he made the right call to walk away now, at age 37 and with his health mostly still there. What an amazing career it’s been for the greatest Canadian fighter of all time, and one of the undisputed GOATs in this incredible sport that we all love. Thank you, Georges.