5 Reasons Why Georges St. Pierre Is The Greatest Fighter of All-Time

Saturday night at Madison Square Garden saw one of the greatest night of fights in combat sports history.

Seriously. It had everything: spectacular knockouts, star power, controversy, drama, and for the first time in UFC history, three brand new champions.

In the main event, The World’s Most Famous Arena also saw the return of one member of the UFC’s Mount Rushmore: Georges “Rush” St-Pierre.

The former longtime king of the Welterweight division returned in a new weight class, immediately challenged Michael Bisping (the winningest fighter in UFC history) and stopped him in his tracks. GSP is your new UFC Middleweight champion.

Another title St-Pierre cemented in the octagon on November 4? The GOAT.

Why Georges, and why now? Here are 5 reasons:

1 He is a two division world champion

 Only four fighters in UFC history have won championships across two weight classes:

  • Randy Couture (Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight)
  • BJ Penn (Lightweight, Welterweight)
  • Conor McGregor (Featherweight, Lightweight)
  • Georges St-Pierre (Welterweight, Middleweight)

(Dan Henderson did it in Pride Fighting Championships but was unable to win a championship in the UFC).

Randy Couture and BJ Penn certainly belongs in the “best ever” conversation, and are two of the UFC’s original stars, contributing immensely to the sport. In a sport where records are sometimes the only thing that is looked at to judge a fighter, not many people with 17-11 (Couture) or 16-12 (Penn) professional records could cement themselves as Mount Rushmore candidates, but there is no debate here. GSP surpasses both (he has also defeated BJ Penn in the octagon). 

Conor McGregor is certainly on the fast track to immortality. The biggest reason he is not in this conversation yet is the sheer amount of fights. A few wins later and that can definitely change. But we are looking at this from today. Georges has simply done more.

2 He has avenged all of his losses

GSP boasts a professional record of 26-2. His losses came to two Matts: Hughes and Serra.

Matt Hughes submitted GSP with an armbar at UFC 50 in 2004, St-Pierre’s first ever UFC title defense.

Matt Serra, as a tremendous underdog, won a season of the Ultimate Fighter to earn a title shot and stunned GSP, earning a TKO win in the first round.

So, the key to beating the GOAT is to be named Matt. Unless you face him a second time.

GSP fought Hughes twice after, earning a stoppage win both times (including a “receipt” armbar in the trilogy). “Rush” knocked out Serra in their rematch in Montreal a year after their first contest.

Ten years later, Georges hasn’t lost another fight. Even the best of all time suffer setbacks, but Georges bounced back, completely.

3 He is one of the UFC's biggest box office draws

When you look at the biggest UFC Pay Per View buyrates, a few names repeat on the list:

  • Conor McGregor
  • Ronda Rousey
  • Brock Lesnar
  • Jon Jones
  • Anderson Silva
  • and, of course, Georges St-Pierre

GSP is not the biggest box office draw in UFC history. That honor goes to McGregor. But he is among the biggest.

This category is where Georges St-Pierre edges out Demetrious Johnson, current Flyweight champion and owner of the most successful title defenses of a UFC title in history. Mighty Mouse has only lost once in the UFC, in 2011, and since then has been on a tear, completely cleaning out his division to the point that people must include him in the conversation. The challenge is, with his name given top billing, the buyrates and buzz hasn’t matched that of the list above. Could that change with the right opponent and marketing efforts? Sure it can. But again this list is about today (and could certainly change down the line, the way Mighty Mouse is going).

This is certainly an impressive list. We already addressed Conor so let’s move through the rest:

Ronda Rousey had one of the most spectacular championships runs in UFC history, then suffered two back-to-back stoppage losses. If “Rowdy” never returned to the cage, her stretch with the Women’s Bantamweight title is an all-timer, but longevity is on GSP’s side.

Brock Lesnar is a sheer box office magnet. A former UFC Heavyweight champion, he is a promoter’s dream. But you’d be hard-pressed to find many people adding him to the GOAT conversation but I don’t think he cares about that all too much.

Anderson Silva is one of the only fighters that you could argue is the GOAT over GSP. His dominance was similar, he was a box office success, he could have also achieved success in a different weight class if he wanted. The advantage for “Spider” is that while GSP often wore down his opponents to decision victories, Anderson Silva stopped most of his opponents, often in dominant fashion. Twenty of his 34 wins came by knockout. This discussion encompasses the entire career, including the last four years, where Silva has gone 1-4-1, including a doping violation (we will get to that later).

Jon Jones is similar in dominance and mastery of the sport, but his demons outside the octagon are well documented.

Which brings us to…

4 His record outside the octagon

I’m not here to compare demons and uncover dirt, simply discuss what is public information. One big advantage that St-Pierre holds over others in the conversation of greatest ever is his reputation outside the octagon, particularly with performance-enhancing drugs. For whatever reason, legitimate or otherwise, some other fighters in the debate have either been tested positive for a banned substance or have been flagged by USADA, the governing body. Georges St-Pierre has not.

There are rumors out there, particularly pointed out by Michael Bisping in the media before this fight, but as of right now there has been no positive test, so his record stays publicly perfect in this category. In fact, GSP was one of the champions of bringing the US Anti-Doping Agency and their stringent testing practices to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

You’d also be hard-pressed to find much bad press about St-Pierre outside the cage.

5 Longevity

GSP was at the top of the mountain for seven years. He left the sport in 2013 to take a break and regain his mental edge. He came back four years later, laid all the “ring rust” claims to rest and captured another championship. He’s back on top of the mountain and many fans are wondering how long he will stay there. Will we see the decline that inevitably every top athlete faces? (One criticism from the fight on Saturday night was that some noted GSP looked tired in the second round, a rare sight indeed as in his heyday he was a cardio machine.)

With Georges, you almost suspend disbelief and you could envision a world where he once again defeats all comers and retires at the top of the mountain. Will it happen?

Who knows, but it will be fun to watch. And when he retires for good, we can reopen this debate. But right now, on November 5, 2017, Georges St-Pierre is the greatest MMA fighter that ever lived.