Former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre believes that Royce Gracie is the greatest fighter of all time. In a recent interview with TMZ, “GSP” said that past fighters paved the way for MMA athletes and that Gracie changed the sport.
Gracie, who is a part of the UFC Hall of Fame, was the inaugural UFC champion, winning the UFC 1 tournament with his ground-breaking Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Gracie (15-2-3 in MMA) also won the UFC 2 and UFC 4 tournaments.
In the interview, TMZ asked GSP who he believed was the greatest fighter of all time. The former multi-divisional champ said, “For me, it’s Royce Gracie because Royce Gracie is the one that really changed the sport. He changed the entire belief system of what a real fight is. So I think Royce Gracie is there. Jon Jones is there. Jon Jones right now [in] the modern-day era is the best guy. There is also Khabib [Nurmagomedov] that could be there — there’s a lot of guys.”
However, GSP reiterated that he believed Gracie was the greatest. He said, “One guy that I will for sure put there is Royce Gracie, there’s no doubt about it.”
GSP said: “We should never forget the guys that were there before us. We should never forget about these guys. Like Einstein says, we stand on [the] shoulders of giants. They’ve paved the way for us.”
St-Pierre Believes That Fighters Nowadays Are Better Than Fighters From the Past Because of Technological Advancement & Easier Access to Information
GSP told TMZ that because of the internet, it is much easier to learn martial arts techniques. He said, “Now I can learn an armbar [from] a guy who is in Australia teaching it on my cellphone. Before it was not like that. I had to go and physically be there in a room. I drove to New York and learned jiu-jitsu at Renzo Gracie’s academy. It’s a totally different ball game.”
The Canadian said that fighters aren’t more athletic now than they were in the past. He believes that the advancement in technology and the availability of information has led to fighters evolving and becoming better. He said, “It’s not because they’re a better person. They’re the same. They just have [easier access] and more knowledge than they had in the past.”
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GSP Recently Confirmed He Was Remaining Retired
The 39-year-old Canadian recently confirmed to TMZ that he was planning on remaining retired. After winning the middleweight championship in 2017, GSP announced his retirement for the sport.
He told TMZ, “Sometimes I’m watching the fights and I’m like, ‘Man I think I can beat these guys’ or after when I’m done training I feel like I’m very confident.”
The former welterweight and middleweight champion continued, “But, after I go home at night and I’m thinking about all that crazy thoughts and I’m like ‘I’m gonna be 40 years old soon, do I really wanna go back and do a hardcore training camp of 2 months? Put myself in jail so to speak and get ready for hell?’ I’m like, no I don’t.”
He said that there have been many fighters that have retired too late, and he doesn’t want to be “one of [those] guys.”