Georges St-Pierre is in rarefied air as one of the mixed martial artists whose name comes up in any discussion of the all-time greats.
The most recent fighter added to that list? UFC flyweight king Demetrious Johnson.
That name might not be regarded by some with the same reverence as “GSP”, Anderson Silva, Fedor Emelianenko, or Jon Jones, but it’s difficult to dispute Johnson’s qualifications for legend status after he broke Silva’s record for consecutive UFC title defenses when he submitted Ray Borg at UFC 216 to make it 11 straight victories as the champ.
When asked for his thoughts on Johnson’s historical ranking, St-Pierre didn’t hesitate to anoint him as the best in the business today.
“He’s the best fighter of our era right now,” St-Pierre said at a recent press conference in Toronto to promote UFC 217. “I believe he’s the best pound-for-pound right now. Every era has great fighters, some guys were the best at their time and you never fight the same fighter twice because a lot of things make people change. But right now as we’re speaking, the best pound-for-pound is Demetrious Johnson, no doubt.”
St-Pierre’s own collection of conquests is littered with notable names, including Matt Hughes, the man regarded as MMA’s top welterweight before being surpassed by GSP, B.J. Penn, a champion at both 155 and 170 pounds, and welterweight stalwarts Jake Shields, Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit, Jon Fitch, and Josh Koscheck. The quality of his opponents is one of the main reasons why St-Pierre’s career is held in such high regard.
Because Johnson is the only man to ever hold the UFC flyweight title, it’s been difficult to gauge how strong his opponents are, with critics claiming that he fights in a weak division and advocates countering that it’s only because of Johnson’s dominance that his opposition is questioned.
UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping (who happens to have the most wins ever inside the Octagon) was also at the press conference to promote his Nov. 4 title defense against St-Pierre and he passed on diving too deeply into the debate, instead offering a brief summation of Johnson’s talents.
“He’s very good,” Bisping said.