When it comes to the UFC’s welterweight division, there’s a clear frontrunner for the greatest of all time. And despite the achievements of the division’s new blood, it’s hard to knock Georges St.-Pierre from his pedestal.
GSP surfaced as an evolution of MMA, combining near-unstoppable wrestling with a varied striking game to dethrone longtime division king Matt Hughes. After stumbling against Matt Serra in his first title defense, GSP promptly returned to his glory and kept the division on lockdown before stepping away of his own accord years later.
He defended his title a record nine times, which remains in the top three defense records to this day. He has the most wins in UFC title fights with 13, and is the fourth multi-divisional champion in UFC history, besting middleweight king Michael Bisping at UFC 217 to claim his second belt.
GSP is clearly a contender for the greatest of all time, but the welterweight division has no shortage of talent today. Now there’s Tyron Woodley – a standout wrestler with a nuke for a right hand. He’s defeated the likes of Robbie Lawler, Demian Maia, and just recently at UFC 228 Darren Till – handing the then 18-0 Till his first professional defeat.
But with another welterweight king now building his own legacy, does GSP feel the need to come back and see who is the true best at 170-pounds? He’s mentioned previously that at this point in his career, he only wants fights that can improve his legacy and make him the most money. It’s a smart move – he has little left to prove, if anything. But does beating Woodley end up on that list?
According to GSP, the answer is no. He says he understands why Woodley wants the fight – for him, it would be a win-win situation. If he lost, he would have lost to the arguable GOAT. But if he won, it would be massive. However, if GSP would’ve won against Woodley, it would’ve seemed like he was proving something many people already believed – that he was the greatest 170-pound fighter ever.
GSP also said it wasn’t about fear – but not because he’s fearless. He said: “It’s not that I’m scared, actually, I’m always scared when I go fight, I’m scared of everybody but being scared is irrelevant because I’m going to walk the walk if I have to do it. I have to choose carefully what is my next move. For at this point I am with cementing my legacy; it is not a straight line.”
The only fight GSP has really seemed interested in at this point is a lightweight debut against the winner of Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov. Such a showing would see him make a run for a third belt, which, if he won, would mark a historic first for the promotion.
And while some may claim GSP would need a fight to prove himself at lightweight first, it is worth noting his only fight at middleweight was his title win over Bisping.