UFC: GSP Praises Kamaru Usman, Offers Advice To Conor McGregor
While former two division UFC champion Georges St-Pierre is the consensus welterweight GOAT, he believes that Kamaru Usman is certainly raising the bar.
Usman successfully defended his welterweight title at UFC 258 against Gilbert Burns. In the process, ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ surpassed St-Pierre for the most consecutive wins in the UFC’s welterweight division with 13. However, GSP still holds the major share of records, with the most title fights in UFC welterweight history (14), the most wins in the division’s history (16), and the most title defences (9).
At UFC 261, Usman will get the opportunity to make it 14 straight wins inside the Octagon, when he defends his title against Jorge Masvidal. The 33 year old previously beat ‘Gamebred’ in his second title defence at UFC 251.
Is Usman Better?
“In terms of accomplishments, it’s different,” St-Pierre said. “I’ve done stuff that I believe he hasn’t done yet. But I’m gonna tell you the truth and as painful as it could be for any athlete to admit it, the athletes of today are normally better than the athletes of yesterday. As good as the athletes of today are, the athletes of tomorrow will be better. That’s how it is. I don’t care who you are. Even if you’re Usain Bolt, you beat the world record, in a few years there will be another guy that comes and beats your record. I don’t think it’s because the guys are better, it’s because the technology is better and it’s the same thing in mixed martial arts.
“We cannot measure the performance like in sprinting or in weight lifting, but we can only speculate and, of course, time for time, maybe he didn’t win 11 [title fights], but he’s raising the bar. And if I don’t admit that, that means I’m insulting the entire UFC roster. That means I’m saying the sport is regressing, and it’s not true. I believe the sport is getting better. Do I feel that if I go back in my prime and I could fight Kamaru Usman, I do think, yes, I could have done it. However, I know for a fact that as time goes by, guys get better.”
New Era Brings New Stars
St-Pierre also pointed out that each era produces a new breed of superstars. Back in his day, it was him and Anderson Silva at the top of the sport, and now all the talk is about the likes of Usman and Israel Adesanya.
“Mixed martial arts is a sport about what’s next, and it’s always been like that,” St-Pierre said. “The champion that will come after Kamaru Usman, we will promote him as the ‘best guy ever’ who’s better than Georges St-Pierre, who’s better than Kamaru Usman, but it’s the same thing.
“Now we have Kamaru Usman, we have Israel Adesanya – we don’t talk about Anderson Silva anymore. We talk about Israel Adesanya, and that’s OK. That’s how the sport is, and we have to accept it. I know how it is, and we like to be remembered for the stuff that we’ve done, we put a lot of effort into it, but that’s the reality, and I accept it. I make peace with it. It was hard in the beginning, but I made peace with it.”
Advice For Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor returned to the Octagon in January to rematch Dustin Poirier at UFC 257, but was brutally TKO’d in the second round. With the trilogy fight in the works for the summer, St-Pierre has a piece of advice for the Irishman.
“So when I made my first million of course my life has changed. I had more security and I didn’t feel that I was fighting for the same reason that I was in the beginning in terms of security,” St-Pierre said (as transcribed by BJPenn.com). “When I was poor at the beginning, I was on the edge. I knew if I lost I would feel death and my life would a mess. But when you get money, these things change.
“However, to keep performing, you need to get out of your comfort zone. You cannot stay in your comfort zone in a training camp, because you are trying to recreate the same element you can face for a fight. And when you’re in a fight, you won’t be in your comfort zone. It’s imperative if Conor wants to get back on the road to success, he needs to get out of his comfort zone. He needs to not be the boss of the training camp, he needs his coaches to tell him, ‘You need to spar these guys, you need to go there and do this.’ Even if it doesn’t please him, he needs to go through that. Because if you can stay in your comfort zone, the only thing that can happen is you will go down. You need to do that.”
Do you agree with Georges St-Pierre’s comments on Kamaru Usman and Conor McGregor?