“The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but by the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure.” – Nike
Mixed Martial Arts GOAT, Georges St-Pierre
What does it mean to be the greatest? Does it mean that one has to be the biggest, fastest, and strongest person in their respective sport? Does it mean that an athlete has to have all the best stats, beat all the unbeatable records, and remain in their prime physique forever? ‘Actions speak louder than words’, they say. In the sporting industry, actions do not necessarily speak louder than words. With the emergence of the use of analytics in many of the major sports today, a player or an athlete doesn’t have to be perfect, but as long as the athlete can do the little things right and can slightly distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack, the athlete will make themselves valuable to their employers.
The Idea Of “Complete Athlete”
It is very seldom in sports today that one sees a “complete player or athlete” that can do it all and then do some more. That is what makes players and athletes like Sidney Crosby, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Tom Brady, LeBron James, Usain Bolt, and Lionel Messi, so special. These individuals do not only excel at their sport, but they are the best players in their sport today. They are the players that every kid watching them play wants to be like. These athletes are the ones who bring the intrigue to their respective sports. They make names for themselves. Maybe they are not the greatest of all time just yet, but they are sure as hell on track to sporting the label.
If one takes the time to look at the legends of the sports they love, that person will notice that the “GOATs” of those sports all share three common traits: heart, determination, and resiliency. Wayne Gretzky was not the biggest guy on the ice, but he played with heart and determination. If the opponent gave Gretzky an opportunity to set someone up or score a goal, he sure as hell did it. Look at Wayne now, “Gretz” is considered by many to be the best hockey player to ever lace up the skates. Skill can only get a player so far. Heart, determination, and resiliency are what it truly takes for an athlete to reach the pinnacle of their sport. That is what it takes for a player to be put on the Mount Rushmore of the greatest of all-time. Bring in Canadian mixed martial artist and two-time UFC Welterweight Champion and flavour of the week UFC Middleweight Champion, Georges “Rush” St-Pierre.
How Does GSP Play Into This?
The sport of mixed martial arts has seen many great fighters to step into the octagon over the years. MMA has many legends and heroes like Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, Fedor Emelianenko, Royce Gracie, Wanderlei Silva, Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson, Matt Hughes and even the loveable and confident fighting Irishman Conor McGregor, just to name a few. Since, in the grand scheme of things, MMA is relatively a younger sport, one of the fastest growing sports in the world, the sport does not have many true GOATs, at least that’s up until now.
After Georges ‘Rush’ St-Pierre’s UFC Middleweight title-winning submission victory over Michael Bisping at UFC 217 in Madison Square Garden, GSP solidified his spot as the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time. No questions asked.
Proof GSP Is The GOAT
St-Pierre has a resumé that little to no one can touch. GSP has beaten some of the best welterweights of all time. Get this, not only did Georges St-Pierre beat greats like “The Prodigy” BJ Penn, Matt Hughes, and Carlos Condit, he has also beaten the likes of Nick Diaz, Johny Hendricks, and Josh Koscheck. That is an impressive resumé. Not to mention, GSP successfully defended his welterweight title nine times before taking a four-year hiatus from the sport to rest and train. What did GSP do when he got back into the sport? He moved up to the 185ib Middleweight division and beat Michael Bisping for the Middleweight title. All in a day’s work.
Let’s Talk About GSP’s Record
And, yes, GSP’s record is 26-2. That means he lost twice. Those losses coming to Matt Hughes at UFC 50 and Matt Serra at UFC 69. The first time GSP lost was to Matt Hughes. At the time, GSP was an up-and-coming fighter. Matt Hughes was somewhat of a gritty and successful veteran No excuses, Matt Hughes simply beat GSP. Hughes was the better fighter. Now most fighters after suffering the first loss of their career would lower their expectations for what is to come in the future. They get brought back down to Earth. They know they are not invincible and they fight like that for the rest of their career. Not GSP. He trained hard, he went the extra mile, won a couple fights, and got another crack at Matt Hughes. What does GSP do? He beat Matt Hughes and became the new Undisputed UFC Welterweight Champion of the World.
Humbled But Not “Broken”
When Welterweight Champion GSP got knocked out by Matt Serra at UFC 69 for his second career loss, which was considered to be the biggest upset in MMA history, what did St-Pierre do after the loss? No, he did not go off into isolation and give himself pitty. He went back to the gym and trained. He focused on his weaknesses and he improved himself to the point where he earned himself another title shot. When he got another shot at Matt Serra at UFC 83, he proved that his loss was a kick in the fanny pack, knocked out Serra in the second round, and he went on to successfully defend his title nine consecutive times.
Hit ‘Em In The Fanny Pack, Georges!
The thing that makes GSP so great is his outstanding heart, determination, and resiliency. St-Pierre will not go into a press conferences saying that he is going to do this and do that. St-Pierre always said that he was going to let his talking be done in the octagon. Yeah, as Michael Bisping said in the buildup leading up to UFC 217, GSP is predictable; left jab, right jab, and then a takedown, but what makes GSP a true GOAT is the fact that his opponents know what’s coming to them, but they cannot stop it, because GSP’s skill and technique is that damn great. It is just like the pitcher Walter “The Big Train” Johnson’s fastball, the hitter knew when the count was 3-2 that the fastball was coming middle in, yet there was nothing they could do to hit it, because “The Big Train’s” fastball was that damn good. Simply put, simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.
For Real, GSP Is The GOAT
Everyone likes to talk about what St-Pierre has done in the sport and the impact he has had on the sport, but no one really seems to take about his cultural significance. St-Pierre brought a whole new demographic to come and watch the sport. He put Canadian MMA on the map. Georges St-Pierre is hands down by far the biggest reason why Canada is one of the UFC’s most profitable markets. And that is proven when UFC 217’s pay-per-view buys topped one of the biggest pay-per-view events in all of combat sports history, that being Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor. That stat alone proves how important GSP is in the Canadian market. Not only has St-Pierre influenced many Canadians to watch the sport, he also influenced many past, present, and future Canadian mixed martial artists to partake in the sport. Who can only do that? The GOAT, the greatest of all-time!
Who is the GOAT? Who is the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time? There’s only one answer and that answer is .. GEORGES “RUSH” ST-PIERRE!