Count Georges St-Pierre among those highly impressed by Kamaru Usman’s performance at UFC 258 over the weekend.
Usman defended his title with a third-round technical knockout of Gilbert Burns for his 13th consecutive win in the UFC’s welterweight division, which broke St-Pierre’s previous record of 12-straight wins in the 170-pound weight class.
The victory over Burns was Usman’s third successful title defence and his mettle was on full display after his former training partner turned No. 1 contender dropped him 32 seconds into the scheduled 25-minute main event.
“Great performance. It was a good fight,” St-Pierre said Monday during an appearance on Good Show. “It’s a good testimony to his strength because he faced a lot of adversity in the first round.”
St-Pierre continued: “He was able to come back strong and I think it will make him grow because it’s easy to fight when everything goes well, but sometimes you have to face adversity and obstacles during your career and he had a big challenge when he got rocked and he was able to come back. This fight will make him a better fighter.”
— UFC (@ufc) February 14, 2021
— UFC (@ufc) February 14, 2021
Usman is now 18-1 overall in mixed martial arts and hasn’t lost since his second professional fight nearly eight years ago. The 33-year-old champ has steadily risen up the pound-for-pound rankings since winning the belt in 2019 and has been compared to St-Pierre on numerous occasions.
While there are some obvious comparisons – both are physical specimens who can control opponents with jab efficacy and dominant wrestling – implying that Usman is essentially on his way to becoming GSP 2.0 is a disservice to both fighters and their unique talents.
“We are both different,” St-Pierre said. “I like the way he changes his style, he switches stance, he puts a lot of great pressure on the fence. He’s a very good fence wrestler. He’s a great all-around fighter. He’s fantastic. I love watching him.
“You can’t really compare… every fighter is different. Me, I like to get my takedowns from the outside and then I use a decoy (and timing) to get my takedowns. His takedowns are more fence takedowns, chain wrestling takedowns. He’s very good. He’s the best at what he does.”
UFC president Dana White said at the UFC 258 post-fight press conference “it’s undeniable that (Usman) will go down as the best welterweight” if he’s able to keep extending his record winning streak.
St-Pierre added “records are made to be broken” and that he was happy for Usman.
— UFC (@ufc) February 15, 2021
Usman said after his win if St-Pierre decided to return to MMA once again that he “can cut the line” and would be happy to challenge himself against the Canadian great.
St-Pierre understands the comparisons and frequent hypotheticals brought up by fans and media but also mentioned he thinks comparing the legacies of two fighters from different eras is a difficult endeavour.
Even though St-Pierre is only six years Usman’s senior, they really aren’t contemporaries in the traditional sense. In fact, there has been basically zero crossover in their respective UFC careers.
St-Pierre was a two-time champion with a 25-2 record when he took his infamous hiatus late in 2013. Usman didn’t make his UFC debut until 2014. St-Pierre returned for one fight when he won the middleweight title in 2017. Usman at that time wasn’t even ranked among the top 10 welterweights in the UFC. Despite nearly 50 combined MMA bouts, St-Pierre and Usman don’t have a single common opponent either.
“You can’t compare because it’s a different time, different opponents, different challenges, you know?” St-Pierre said. “And I’m sure he will do a lot more than 13 (consecutive wins). He’s making his mark as maybe the greatest or one of the greatest one day if he keeps going. He looks pretty good. He looks fantastic. …
“I don’t mind being compared to Kamaru Usman. To me, it’s a good thing. That means they still think about me and what I’ve done a few years back, so I’m happy.”