MMA great Georges St-Pierre credits Kamaru Usman for raising the bar in the UFC's welterweight division. While touching upon the current state of affairs in the UFC during an interview with Ariel Helwani of ESPN, GSP was asked to share his opinion on Kamaru Usman being considered the greatest welterweight of all time, a title that has been conferred to St-Pierre for a long time.
Stating the role of the evolution of MMA and technological advancements in the sports industry, Georges St-Pierre told Ariel Helwani that each generation of fighters tends to be better than the previous one. GSP added that although the length of Kamaru Usman's title reign is shorter than his, the Nigerian nightmare deserves to be acknowledged for raising the bar of competitive brilliance in the division.
"In terms of accomplishments, it is different. I have done stuff that I believe he didn't do yet... But as painful as it could be for any athlete to admit it, the athletes of today are normally better than the athletes of yesterday. And as good as the athletes of today are, the athletes of tomorrow will be better. That's how it is. I don't think the guys are better, I think the technology is better...
You know, I don't care who you are, even if you are Usain Bolt and you beat the world record, in a few years there's another guy who will come and beat your record... of course, time-for-time he didn't win eleven title (fights) but he is raising the bar. If I don't admit that, that means I am insulting the entire UFC roster. That means I am saying that the sport is regressing and that is not true," Georges St-Pierre said.
Retired UFC double champion Georges St-Pierre is considered the greatest welterweight fighter and one of the consensus greatest MMA fighters of all time. GSP holds the record for 13 title fight victories in two separate reigns as the champion. Reigning welterweight champion Kamaru Usman has emerged as the heir apparent to GSP's place in welterweight history. ManyMany,luding UFC president Dana White, have predicted that he is on his way to becoming the greatest welterweight fighter of all time.
However, with four title fight victories on his record so far, Kamaru Usman has a long way to go as Georges St-Pierre is one of a handful of dominant fighters in the UFC that hold wins over three generations of fighters, an achievement that eludes most.
Georges St-Pierre accepts the reason why Kamaru Usman's name is being proposed as the greatest
Georges St-Pierre told ESPN that he accepts the reality that the sport of MMA has to look forward to and the up-and-coming fighters have to be presented as the best athletes. GSP's remarks refer to the commercial and marketing aspect of MMA. To build the superstars, the promotions have to present the active fighters as the best crop of athletes which essentially pushes the achievements and names of retired fighters of the previous generation out of the discussion.
"Let's not forget that mixed martial arts is the sport that's about what's next. It's not about what happened before... The champion that will come after Kamaru Usman, they will promote him as the best guy ever... Nowe we have Kamaru Usman, we have Israel Adesanya. We don't talk about Anderson Silva anymore and that's okay. That's how the sport is and we have to accept it... We like to be remembered for the stuff that we 've done but that's the reality and I accept it," Georges St-Pierre said.
Kamaru Usman is slated to attempt the fourth successful defense of his title against Jorge Masvidal at the UFC 261 PPV event on April 24, 2021.