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5 reasons why Georges St-Pierre is still ahead of Kamaru Usman in the UFC welterweight GOAT conversation

Can Kamaru Usman ever surpass Georges St-Pierre as the UFC's welterweight GOAT?
Can Kamaru Usman ever surpass Georges St-Pierre as the UFC's welterweight GOAT?
Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST

2021 has been a remarkable year for UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ has defended his title three times, defeating Gilbert Burns, Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington.

WHAT A KO 🤯@USMAN84kg left Jorge Masvidal out on the mat and ran over to Dana White. https://t.co/Xp2kLNAesj

Kamaru Usman is clearly a great champion, but will he ever be able to edge ahead of former UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre in the discussion over who is the greatest 170lber of all time?

‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ may be able to pull this off in the future, but for now, the truth is that GSP remains ahead of him in that conversation. With that considered, here are five reasons why Georges St-Pierre is still ahead of Kamaru Usman in the UFC welterweight GOAT conversation.


#5. Kamaru Usman has not yet matched Georges St-Pierre’s record of UFC title defenses

Kamaru Usman has achieved five successful UFC title defenses compared to Georges St-Pierre's nine
Kamaru Usman has achieved five successful UFC title defenses compared to Georges St-Pierre's nine

The most obvious reason why Kamaru Usman remains behind Georges St-Pierre in the conversation around who is the UFC’s welterweight GOAT is a simple one. It centers around the number of title defenses achieved.

Kamaru Usman claimed the UFC welterweight title when he defeated Tyron Woodley at UFC 235 in March 2019. In the two-and-a-half years that have followed, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ has made a total of five successful title defenses, turning back the challenges of Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal.

The rematch delivered and in the end, Usman and Covington embrace after 5️⃣ rounds at #UFC268 https://t.co/fHUa8Tna6D

In contrast, Georges St-Pierre held the title for a far longer period, from April 2008 to November 2013. He made a total of nine successful defenses.

Could Usman surpass St-Pierre’s number of title defenses at some point in the future? It is possible. However, the fact that he’s already 34 years old is somewhat worrying. Usman is seemingly in his prime now, but realistically, he could suffer a major slide at any time.

By contrast, St-Pierre was already well into his first retirement at the same age that Usman is now and was obviously far younger during the peak of his title reign.

Based on his current trajectory, averaging two fights a year since winning the title, Usman could theoretically match GSP’s amount of defenses in late 2023. That’d make him nearly 37 years old. The likelihood of him still being at the top of his game at that stage seems slim, if not impossible.

That may still happen, of course, but for now, given that he has four fewer successful defenses than GSP, Kamaru Usman must sit behind the Canadian in any GOAT discussion.

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Edited by Harvey Leonard

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