With a win last Saturday night, Georges St-Pierre joined a very short list of fighters who have held two titles in two different divisions in the UFC and he is the first to ever conquer both the welterweight and middleweight championships.
Despite a near four-year layoff, St-Pierre submitted Michael Bisping in the third round to capture the 185-pound title, which extended his winning streak to 13, including nine defenses of his welterweight championship before exiting the sport in 2013.
The victory at UFC 217 over Bisping only further added to St-Pierre's gaudy resume, which includes wins over two current UFC Hall of Fame fighters and a laundry list of top names who have won championships in organizations all over the globe.
Based on the body of work he's put together, it's difficult to deny that St-Pierre sits in rarified air in the history of the sport. That's why so many have declared him the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
There's only one problem — St-Pierre doesn't agree.
“There is no such thing as the greatest of all time or the best fighter,” St-Pierre said on a media conference call on Thursday. “Listen, there's no such thing. We all compete under different environments, we all have different problems. Even though you're the best, it doesn't mean that you're not going to lose. It doesn't mean that nobody is going to beat you.
“Example, I fought Michael Bisping Saturday at Madison Square Garden — at that particular night, at that particular moment, at that particular place, I beat Michael Bisping Saturday night. It doesn't mean that if I fight him tomorrow, that he's not going to beat me. It's the same thing in other sports like hockey or baseball or football. The best team sometimes cannot always win. The team that wins is the team that plays the best the night of the game. It's the same in fighting. People think fighting is different. ‘Oh, this guy's stronger than this guy, so he's always going to win.' That's not true. Maybe one day I'm going to make a mistake and I'm going to lose to a guy who's not as good as me, but maybe nine times out of 10 I will beat him.”
The uncertainty that envelops professional sports is the biggest reason why St-Pierre doesn't want his name or anybody else's attached to that mythical “greatest of all time” argument.
St-Pierre admits that even he's been a victim of that in the past after first entering the sport with that goal in mind. It didn't take him long to figure out that no matter how much training you do or preparation you put in, it only takes one shot or one mistake to completely alter the course of a fight and that's why he no longer buys into that conversation about the best fighter in the history of the sport.
“There's no such thing as the greatest of all time. It doesn't exist. It's an illusion,” St-Pierre said. “We can speculate about it in terms of achievement. Because that's the way I think now because of the experience that I gained over the time.
“When I was starting fighting, I wanted to be the strongest man in the world. But there is no such thing as being the strongest man in the world. Everybody can beat everybody at any given day, at any given time. There's no such thing as being the strongest man in the world. You can be the best one day, but tomorrow you're not. That's the truth about the sport.”