UFC legend Georges St-Pierre believes Royce Gracie is greatest fighter in MMA history, but admits it’s “a subjective thing.”
St-Pierre, who previously held the UFC welterweight and middleweight titles, but is now enjoying retirement, recently partook in a interesting interview with UFC.com. One of the topics of the chat was his place among the GOATs of MMA.
While many fans consider St-Pierre the GOAT of the sport, the man himself pointed to several other fighters, depending on the factors you consider most important in the GOAT debate.
“What does being the best of all time mean?” St-Pierre said. “If it’s to compare every athlete who competed at their time and who was the most dominant at their time, who had the most achievements, for me it’s Royce Gracie. If you talk about who’s the strongest guy, if you would put everybody in the cage, who would come out alive, I think it would maybe be Fedor Emelianenko in his prime. If you talk about the more flamboyant guy, the one who did some crazy stuff that you only see in movies and stuff like that, I would say maybe a guy like Anderson Silva or Vitor Belfort. If you say the more well-rounded guy, I would say maybe Demetrious Johnson. If you ask about who’s the guy who faced the most adversity, maybe Jon Jones. But whoever you name, it’s a subjective thing, it’s an opinion.”
While Georges St-Pierre believes fighters like Gracie, Emelianenko, Silva, Belfort, Johnson and Jones all have claim to the GOAT title, he suspects that the best fighter in MMA history has likely not even been born yet, and that fighters will continue improve as the sport evolves.
“There’s a lot of guys for different reasons who could be considered a GOAT, and there are pros and cons, but I truly believe it does not exist, because if you talk about who’s the best, I think the best has not even been born yet,” St-Pierre explained. “Royce Gracie, as magnificent as he was, he was the number one guy and he achieved things that still today have not been achieved – if you would put him in the cage against the competition today and ask how he would do, he would not do well because the sport has changed. The technology has become better.
“I remember when I wanted to learn jiu-jitsu, I needed to drive to New York and be in the class to learn an armbar or a choke,” St-Pierre added. “Now you can learn it in two minutes watching on the internet by a guy who lives in a different country from you. So the technology makes the performance better. The best example of that is, look at sports where you can measure things. For example, sprinting. Usain Bolt is the fastest man that ever lived that we know of because we have the evidence to prove it. It’s the same thing in all the Olympic sports you can measure. However, you cannot measure fighting because it’s one guy against another guy, and there’s no instrument of measure that you can have to compare.”
Despite his assertion that the MMA GOAT hasn’t even been born yet, St-Pierre finally conceded that, for the moment, his pick in the debate is Gracie.
“The further we go into the future, the better the guys will be,” St-Pierre said “There will always be new up and comers that are better that will beat the records of the previous ones. But I think we should never forget who was the first one to pave the way. There were no weight classes, they were fighting three times a night and there were headbutts and crazy things that you could do back then. That’s why, for me, Royce Gracie is the number one for me. He’s my favorite fighter, and the GOAT for me is Royce Gracie.”
What do you think of these comments from Georges St-Pierre?This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM