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Snowden: Georges St. Pierre is “The G.O.A.T”

B.J. Penn is no flash in the pan. He’s one of the most respected and successful fighters in UFC history and has been for a decade. Penn is one of two men to win UFC titles in two different weight classes. His skill set is multi-faceted-he’s a legitimate jiu jitsu world champion and has developed his striking game to the point that fellow fighters call him the best boxer in the sport.

And Georges St. Pierre just beat him senseless.

St. Pierre pounded, slammed, and kicked him until his friends and family decided he couldn’t take any more. He sent Penn to the hospital. If Penn was a hall-of-famer, one of the most talented men to ever step foot in the Octagon, what does that make GSP?

Simply put, he’s the G.O.A.T. The greatest of all time.

I can hear the outcry already. After all, St. Pierre is just 27 years old and has been fighting for only seven years. How can he be the best fighter of all time? What about the Gracies, Rickson and Royce, the men who introduced Gracie Jiu Jitsu to the world?

What about the Shamrocks, Frank and Ken, champions in both America and Japan?

And what about the Russian wrecking machine Fedor Emelianenko, a fighter without a real blemish on his record?

All of them are great fighters, among the very best we’ve seen in a cage or ring in the last 15 years. However, none of them are Georges St. Pierre.

If you were constructing the perfect fighter, wouldn’t he look an awful lot like Georges St. Pierre? You’d want exceptional athleticism, the kind of natural ability that would allow a man to out wrestle opponents who had practiced wrestling their whole lives and beat a top striker to the punch. You’d want the kind of work ethic that drives a champion to continue to improve. You’d need a supple mind, one capable of out planning and out thinking his foes in both the training room and in the cage. And more than anything else, you need a competitor, someone who will fight back from adversity and continue striving, not just for victory, but for excellence.

St. Pierre is more than an athlete and much more than a physical specimen. He’s driven, not just to win, but to be the very best. His challenge isn’t an individual opponent, it’s within himself. His credentials are impeccable. He’s beaten every top fighter in the world in his weight class. Twice he’s destroyed the previous consensus best at 170, farm boy Matt Hughes. He’s beaten every challenger the UFC has put in front of him: wrestling stalwarts like teammates Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch, jiu jitsu wizards like Matt Serra, and all-around talents like Sean Sherk and Karo Pariysan.

None of his competitors for the coveted G.O.A.T. honors has a resume like this. The Gracies and Ken Shamrock were invaluable in creating the MMA revolution, but never beat any truly great fighters. Fedor is the best heavyweight MMA has ever seen, but that division has never been among the strongest in the sport. Frank Shamrock comes closest to measuring up to GSP at his height, but Frank was like a proto-GSP. He had the resume, the athleticism and the will to win, but Frank never developed the complete package of skills Georges has.

Most importantly, when GSP has faced adversity, he has come back stronger than ever. A loss to Hughes was avenged, not once, but twice. A flash knockout at the hands of Serra was definitively answered by taking Serra down and manhandling him. Even losing a single round was unacceptable. It had to be avenged. And it was. Just ask B.J. Penn.

35 COMMENTS
  • M B says:

    Interesting article.

    GSP’s professionalism and the way he conducts himself outside of the ring is worth a mention. He’s a class act and doesn’t come across like a bum like a lot of MMA fighters.

  • Dana says:

    Finally, some logical thinking on this site. You even chose to ignore all the garbage that is going on right now. I am really enjoying your book and I would recommend it to any MMA fan.

  • okazaki'sboy says:

    too early in the sport to crown anyone the “greatest of all time”. maybe, “greatest at this time” is more like it. besides, there are too many x-factors in combat sports (differing weight classes, various promotions with champions, one punch knockouts etc…) to really crown anyone “greatest of all time”. i like your thinking, though.

  • Chris Enslow says:

    What no mention of the fact that he just got busted cheating in the Penn fight? At first I blew off the accusations as well due to the overall beating that GSP put on Penn. However, I just finished watching the clips of the vaseline application to his shoulders and back, then a few minutes later Penn going for a submission only to have his legs slide back down GSP’s shoulders and back.

    Like it or not, GSP cheated. It’s that simple.

  • Grappo says:

    Well that’s certainly an opinion. I think Fedor is the greatest fighter I’ve ever seen, but with time, it could be GSP.

  • Chuck says:

    As an admitted GSP fan I really like your article. It’s tough to support the greatest of all time statement however as I think we have yet to see the best from GSP. It’s really a fortunate time for MMA fans in that we are seeing the evolution of a superstar. The Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, or the Michael Jordan of MMA. These people constantly evolve/d and amaze with their performance as time goes on. Truly in a different class above the rest.

    As for GSP he exponentially improves with each fight. Just when you think he can’t get any better he comes out to dominate. It’s admirable how he’s managed to erase prior concerns about his abilities or skillset. Mental issues? After the run he’s been on post Matt Serra it’s obvious that those issues have been put to rest. Doesn’t have the skills or the will to strike? How about out-boxing the so-called greatest boxer in MMA (BJ Penn). An argument like this could be made for each facet of his game.

    We are lucky to be witnessing GSP’s evolution right in front of our eyes. Athletes like him don’t come along very often. Enjoy it while it lasts.

  • Chuck says:

    Chris Enslow:

    “I just finished watching the clips of the vaseline application to his shoulders and back, then a few minutes later Penn going for a submission only to have his legs slide back down GSP’s shoulders and back”

    Penn was never attempting any submissions. He was trying for high guard and rubber guard. They were rather loose attempts as well. If you watch closely, however, GSP continually postures up, squirms, and muscles his way out of the guard. He even stated that in his recent SI interview. Perhaps there was an inadvertent placement of Vaseline by his cornermen but I’d venture that sweat creates just as slippery of a surface.

    Bottom line- were GSP’s cornermen irresponsible idiots? Yes. Was there a premeditated and malicious attempt at cheating by GSP? Likely not. As stated in interviews with Jackson, and supported by logic, they’d have to be completely stupid to attempt to blatantly cheat in plain view of the commission, fans, and cameras. Do you really think they’d make that attempt?? Come on.

  • Fred says:

    I could not agree more. It is a shame that such a talented fighter is caught up in this controversy. I have seen GSP fighting in a gi with a high level BJJ fighter at a competition in London, Ontario and he dominated his opponent. Not sure how the Vaseline helped him that day. (eye roll)

  • KTru says:

    WHOA therd Snowden! I am used to reading knee jerk reactions by the masses here. But you…. Lets wait and see before making such proclamations

  • S says:

    Chuck is right. They may have been too zealous with the vaseline, but there is NO WAY that GSP would cheat. Based on his character (and I have met him), he is an honest genuine person. I true warrior in every sense of the word. In Japan, he would be considered true bushido.

    Plus, it had no bearing on the outcome. Penn was just outclassed. He “tried”, but failed. There were no attempts, aside from a triangle, which failed.

  • G-DUB says:

    Validating “Greatest of All Time” for a fighter who is at the peak of his career and still very active in the ring is reaching quite a bit. Why can’t we just stick with “Best Pound-for-Pound”? For that title, GSP’s dominance in the octagon makes it easy to argue. Give him a few more years …. a few more title defenses …. a few more opportunities to have “mental issues” arise ( … those don’t easily go away … you can only hope for the best for him). I’d like to see how GSP handles the later-half of his career before I hit him up with that moniker. However, based on past performances … and for all of the reasons JS mentioned above …. he seems well on his way.

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    I’d agree that GSP is one of the greats, and it’s possible that by the end of his career I’ll agree that he’s the greatest as of that date. But he’s not there yet, imo. In order to “seal the deal” he’ll have to continue his dominance of welterweight, and also step up to some bigger, heavier fighters. In order to carry the title of greatest of all time, a long tenure in one weight class just isn’t enough.

  • Frank W says:

    I think the key to GSP dominance is Greg Jackson’s fight methodology or scientifc approach to preparing his fighters. Strategy was key in the Serra, Huges Koschek and Penn fights. No doubt GSP has all the tools that make him a world class atlethe and MMA practitioner. Jackson strategy making however allows him to focus and drill a specific combination of tools and maneuvers appropriate for dominating an opponent and nulligying his strenghts.When GSP took away Serras right hand what could he really do?
    Before the 1st serra fight, George would just go out there with his full arsenal and unleash havoc. Now with Gregg Jackson’s stratetgizing, his fights are like a war with the rounds beng a series of battles during which different techniques and tactics are employed for specific results. One succesful battle makes the tactics in the next battle more effective.If GSP had not exhausted BJ with the grappling, his guard passing G&P and striking would not have been as successful. He avoided doing these in th first round.

    I predicted that GSP would physically harrass BJ to fatigue and that BJs entire body would be valid targets for G&P.I predicted he would become slower and less precise once fatigued and ths would nullify striking and ability to KO GSP(his only real chance of winning the fight). My suspicion is that GSP would have used the standing game to KO BJ in the 5th but that was prevented.

    Peopl really need to start recognizing the role and value of using scientific knowledge and analyses in the success of the Gregg Jackson’s fight team.Randy Couture’s team also does this exceedingly well except he does not have the skills set of GSP to flawlessly iimplement.

  • Chris Enslow says:

    After watching the fight live on Saturday night I walked away thinking the same thing most of you are saying, “that was a one way butt kicking” that GSP put on Penn. I disregarded the accusations, like most of you, saying there is no way a little vaseline changes that outcome. That was up until about 2 hours ago when I ran into some clips of the application to the shoulders and upper back between Rounds 1 and 2. Then, not long into Round 2 it show Penn going for a high guard and/or submission, it clearly shows his calves on the EXACT spot where the vaseline rubdown took place just minutes earlier. Needless to say, Penn could not hold position. Yes, that was partly due to GSP posturing up, but surely you cannot deny the help the vaseline gave.

    As far as the rest of the fight goes, Penn was done by Round 3, but that was no surprise. Everyone knew that Penn’s only chance was to catch a submission in Rounds 1 or 2. So, the other vaseline applications that happened during the rest of the fight, I believe, did not play as prominent of a role as it did between the first and second round.

  • BigDave says:

    Final some logic in a story on this site. it been awhile,lol.

    I’m a huge GSP fan ill admit it, but even if i wasnt it would be impossable for me to discredit anything this guy has done. Not only has he avenged the 2 loses on his record but he left no doubt that he was indeed the best fighter in the world. he manhandled the at the time best at 170 in Matt Hughes twice. He took the 3 time jiu jitsu champion and widely thought of best boxer in MMA in BJ Penn and beat him 2 times the second time by utter domination on the feet with his hands and on the ground with his G and P. Other great fighters have also met a fate of being beatup by Rush.

    It has been said here that he cant be known as the greatest fighter because he has not fought in other whieght classes, well if thats the case then you could not call Fedor the greatest fighter either. Then its said you cant call him the greatest fighter because he is still young in the game, well he may not have been there for 15 years yet but like ive said he has fought the best they have to offer him and not only has he beat them all but has dominated them.

    So with that all being said in my opinion Georges St.Pierre is by far the greatest fighter of all time in MMA and quite posabilly the greatest combat sports athlete to ever walk the planet.

  • monsoon says:

    Maybe GSP is. But it seems a bit rare to proclaim this at this point. What has changed since his last fight? He beat Penn, who acted quite unimpressive.
    Sure Penn might be the Prodigy, but first of all I’d like to state that GSP did not have anything big to win in that fight. It would have been a severe setback for him had he lost to the smaller man, challenging GSP at his own wheightclass, no matter how strong Penn might be considered.
    Well, and that leads to one point in his success: St. Pierre seems to match perfectly into the welterweight class, i.e. he is build just as strong and heavy that modern wheightcutting can get im exactly at the 170 weight limit, and additionally he is a near-perfect athlete and fighter. Then, the near-perfect game plan against penn comes into play.

    That still leaves him to maybe destroy A. Silva to become “the greatest of all time” – whilst it is still hard to compare an athletically not so impressive Royce Gracie winning one-day tournaments against monsters of men…

    Leave GSP a bit of air to breathe!

  • Joseph says:

    No,

    Fedor disagrees due to how many people have beat him during his career and as an undersized HW.

    Although this article is making Matt Hughes and Matt Serra very happy, I am sure.

  • htown-chris says:

    what makes gsp quite possibly the greatest of all time (and i am a penn fan), is the fact that he is quite possibly the most evolved fighter of all time. at this point. in the beginning of the ufc you had style v style. as it evolved you had one style mixed in with another style v style. all the way to the present day. the sport has evolved and the result is gsp. pure athleticism, killer instinct, great stand up, awesome g n p, outstanding wrestler, and good jits. we talk about peoples weapons gsp has his wrestling and gnp but he also has probably the best switch kick in the game. simply put he has all the tools that you would expect the g.o.a.t. to have. and uses them better than anybody else at this time. so at this time he is the greatest.

  • seth says:

    ok lets just say for the sake of arguement that the vasiline played a issue. so how do we remedy it ? put them in the ring again? ummm dont know about everyone else but bj got steamrolled with or without vasiline. you them in the ring again and fight goes the same way if not worse for bj. probably wouldnt make it out of the first round on a second go round. gsp is just too good right now. he doesnt need to cheat hes that much better than everyone else.

  • Voridor says:

    With Brock Larson, Conduct, and his next fight with Alves. If he can weather the storm of 09…Then Georgie might be the best.

  • ctateo says:

    in such a young sport, worrying about the greatest of all time is ridiculous. Hell fighters have only become well versed in multiple diciplines in the last few years.

    SECONDLY, please don’t base so much about the GOAT idea on a fight with an undersized opponent.

    After Fitch I was impresses…..Fitch is an actual WW. Sherk……..overmuscled LW when he fought 170., still shorter than some 145ers………..

    Hughes……..great fighter, but from the old school………couldn’t stand an trade with to many fighters, his wrestling meant he didn’t have to. So stop the takedown and what exactly did hughes bring?

    I am a fan of GSP, but his legacy is still being built, as some of his greatest opponents are not yet household names…………

  • kRiS-tYaHn says:

    Chris Enslow: U just made the perfect example of the mind believes what it wants to believe, b/c u said that there was vaseline on GSP, well sorry dude ur wrong between round 1 & 2 the LV comm… employees rubbed off “very hard” any traces of vaseline that could of been on GSP, they also did the same to him in between rounds 2 & 3, so ur logic of BJ’s legs slipping due to “vaseline” is incorrect, and if u really look at the “clips” of when Nurse puts the “vaseline” on GSP u will see he dabs a bit on his fingers, touches up GSP’s face, then massages his temples, then rubs/massages his back and then tap’s his chest. So ur telling me that after he dabed a bit of vaseline on his fingers then to his face then to his temples that there was enough vaseline to rub on his back to make BJ’s legs slip down?!? Whatever it is ur smoking I would really like to try some, b/c that logic u just stated has more holes than BJ’s game plan VS GSP 2.

    WOW incredible what the mind whats to believe!!! Do u really think a fighter like GSP would need to cheat? like comeone use ur head even for a second it has to say…. “we are in the 21st century & there are cameras everywhere, and there are always people watching, especially in this fight that they would on purpose put a crap load of vaseline on GSP’s back?!?” Get the F_ck out of here lol

    What u BJ fans need to do is get all sweaty and roll around with ur other BJ nuthuger and then put ur legs 4 a high guard, not an attempt 4 a submission, buit 4 a high guard and let me know how the result turns out? I already know what the outcome will be, b/c I’ve been there done that. Not to mention, did u see the size difference, do u not understand a guy with GSP’s size and strength not being able to wiggle out of a high guard from BJ PENN?!? The last 3 fights BJ had were with guys who were how tall??? Pulver Joe Daddy & Sherk, OMG they have lil limbs and not even half as strong as GSP, which is why BJ coulndt get anything going, just like I said b4 BJ hasnt fought anyone like GSP, the strength & conditioning would almost be enough to get out of any attempts from BJ from his back, let alone throwing in his skill, game plan and will to win & to show everyone he deserved to win the 1st fight!!!!

    P.S BJ fans get over it, theres no shame in losing to the future of MMA, like the article above said….. if u were to create the perfect MMA fighter u would have about 95% of the skills/abilities GSP has. Even GSP said, “I am better than BJ in every aspect & discipline of MMA” and he proved it. Dont forget to thank GSP’s coachs and trainers & training partners, my buddies and I almost coulndt beleive what we heard when GSP was talking after the fight about……” I was trying to tire him out in the 1st round, and to get all the blood rushing up to his shoulders by pushing me off, so it would make his punching so much slower” we were like WTF who actually thinks about a strategy like that?!? I have never EVER heard of someone talking about doing something as smart as that, amazing trianing & trianers to know that knowledge!!!

    As well GSP had 0 intensions of taking BJ down in the 1st round, so those who think BJ was stuffing GSP’s takedowns, sorry u were wrong, he did that so BJ would lose energy which was perfect b/c his 1st attempt in the 2nd round what happen?!? BJ on the ground and it was all over after that, jsut a matter of time.

  • Rich B says:

    I don’t know that I agree with the premise of the article, but I must say that adding Jonathan Snowden is the best thing that’s happened to this site since it’s inception.

  • Imbecile says:

    I partially agree with this article, and may well fully agree with you a year from now. However, I think right now we may be witnessing two of the greatest fighters of all time, and I’m not sure which is better at this point. GSP and Anderson Silva are the so most talented fighters I have ever seen. Ever! I think GSP is the more well-rounded, prototypical fighter of the two. There isnt a single area of the game where GSP isn’t a 9 or better on a scale of 10. However, I don’t know that there is another fighter out there has as potent and dangerous a weapon as Anderson Silva.

    In breakng them down, it is hard for me to choose. GSP’s punches are top-notch. His wrestling is dominating. His jiu-jitsu for MMA is world-class. His kicks are fast and powerful. His cardio is unmatched. His mental game, constant improvement, and will to win are as good as anyone I have ever seen. He is just the most complete fighter out there.

    Anderson Silva, however, may only be a 7 out of 10 in wrestling. His jiu-jitsu is very good, but may eventually be an issue if a ground wizard like Demian Maia is able to put him on his back, but at this point I have no idea if it an actual weakness, or just perceived. His cardio… doesn’t seem to be an issue, but like any other questions we may have about Silva’s game, we may never know. Why? Because one thing he does have over GSP is a weapon so devastating in his stand-up that nobody has even tested him.

    GSP has had arguably the hardest road of any fighter, but Silva has hardly been fighting chumps. He has beaten Rich Franklin twice, Dan Henderson, Nate Marquardt, and a handful of other good fighters. And he has not only beaten them, he didn’t let them out of the second round. GSP dominated Josh Koscheck on the mats, and destroyed Jon Fitch on the feet, but both gutted out the onslaught to the final bell. Nobody has come close to that mark against Anderson Silva. Anderson Silva has more losses than GSP, however, those losses occurred further in the past than St. Pierre’s loss to Serra, and arguably when Silva was a different fighter. But GSP has avenged all his losses.

    I go back and forth in my mind as to which of these two is the bestfighter I have ever seen, and both have their significant merits. I’m not ready to crown one over the other. That is why I am so desperate to see these two fight. Maybe size difference will make the contest a moot point, but right now I can’t decide who is better. But no one else comes close.

  • BigDave says:

    ok im only going to say this once Fedor is the best heavyweight in the world.

    Now that i have that out of the way lets talk about who is the top pound4pound fighter in the world. There are only 2 guys that are in the running for this and no Fedor isnt one of them. Georges “rush” St.Pierre or Anderson”the spider”Silva.
    In my opinion it is GSP but im a fan so im a bit biased but i feel the only way to end the contriversy is for the 2 of them to fight at a catch weight of 177-178. No belts just the 2 best in the world going at it to see who the better man is. After GSP fights Alves And Anderson fights Damian Maia(i think he will be the next in line after lietes) then i say this fight should happen cause at that point these guys would have destroyed there respective divisions. Only then will there be no arguement as to who the greatest pound4pound fighter on the planet is.

  • omar says:

    for me fedor is the g.o.a.t 9 years without a loss…. 26 winning streak… is heavy weight but he has fight people with more than 60 kilograms(i dunno pounds sorry) of disvantatge…. royce gracie fought people without rounds without classes… and gsp still 27 years old we need to wait to say he is the g.o.a.t he can imporve his marks yet

  • FullMetal says:

    Matt Sera… LOL

  • Orecets says:

    I dont think GSP was fighting a very good BJ Penn that night. The guy didnt look like he had been training very hard, and he didnt look like he was in very good shape.

    I think if it was the same Penn that showed up and fought Sherk he would have done better against GSP. Maybe not a win, but not a total shutout.

  • Austin says:

    Johnathon Snowden is the new jordan breen.

  • Chris Enslow says:

    kRiS-tYaHn: How can you sit there and argue the facts? The video evidence is conclusive. Have you even re-watched the clips of GSP’s corner? Also, you are wrong about the commish wiping GSP down between rounds 1 and 2. That did not happen until between rounds 2 & 3, and 3 & 4. Get the facts, pal.

    Like I said earlier, I blew this off too when I first heard it b/c of the total beatdown that GSP put on Penn. BUT, I ran into footage, conclusive footage, that shows GSP getting greased up.

    I don’t even want to mention that reports of GSP greasing in the past are everywhere.

    For the record, I am not a Penn fan. Believe it or not I WAS a total GSP fan until I saw the evidence. I have never rooted for cheaters, nor will I start now. And, yes, GSP is totally responsible for what happens in his corner.

  • Bad jUjU says:

    Mr. Enslow and those of like mind, you can’t possible think that GSP needs to cheat to win his fights can you? Now if it was Penn’s corner in question that would make sense because “I ran into footage, conclusive footage” that BJ didn’t train properly and must have thought he needed to cheat when GSP started administering that royal beat down on him. THAT I would more than likely believe because it makes sense. GSP is an honorable man and should be given every opportunity to clear this up. You haters are a wasted read, it doesn’t matter about what.

  • Dr. Sardonicus says:

    How do we know GSP would have dominated BJ without the vaseline? The truth is, we don’t.know. Assertions to the contrary are just speculation.

    Sometimes little things like triangle submissions, for instance, suddenly end fights. Sure, GSP’s win was impressive and Penn appeared totally outmatched. But how can anyone be sure it would have gone the same without the vaseline? Personally, I was somewhat puzzled when BJ’s rubber guard kept slipping. At the time, I chalked it up to GSP’s superior maneuvering and condition. But when I found out about the vaseline, I wasn’t sure anymore.

    One of the purposes of a fight is to put an end to the hype. For this to happen, the fight must be fair….within the rules. Otherwise, nothing is settled. If it is found that the accusation has no merit, then GSP is truly the greatest so far. Barring that, a third fight, -IF- Penn agrees to it, would end all doubt..

  • john says:

    THIS IS THE DEFINITIVE RESPONSE TO ALL THIS BS:

    1. Vaseline is only an issue because of the HYPE of this fight. This should be a no contest because there was NO CONTEST from BJ. Lets face it, how can the greatest MMA fight of all time be so one sided. Can one champion be so greater than another? The answer is probably yes.

    2. George has not been tested from the old regime or the new regime. Is he not only the most athletic and diverse fighter, but also the most intelligent? This is hard to believe and yet the answer is probably yes?

    3. Who’s fault is this? Georges and his corners? or is it the UFC or the Commision? The answer is obvious. Greg Jackson make a great point about how incredibly stupid it would be to intentionally cheat. Remember and I can stress this enough, the ultimate responsibility lies with the commission to oversee and ensure a “fair” fight. Stuff happens, low blows, illegal knees, eye pokes, how is this any different. It was not Herbs job, but definitely the people whose job it was to prevent this were there,noticed it and acted.

    4. BJJ, Wrestling, Striking, an elitest in one can no longer claim to be king. As Saturday proved an elitest in two is not even good enough. Who is really the only fighter who is not a master in any, but is highly proficient in all three? And in which victory did he not prove this.

    5. I aint on his jock just stating why we should not be on bj’s. Ego is a terrible thing but BJ you gotta understand that you are ruining MMA. I know you want to leave the seed of doubt but man all you had to say was I was wrong about George and about the jump in weight. Be the legend by leaving the proper legacy.

  • alexovie says:

    The guy beats a fighter 20lbs. smaller than him and with vasoline on his back and shoulders, and he’s now the best fighter?

    What no love for Anderson?

  • Dr. Sardonicus says:

    Vaseline or not, I’m not ready to concede G.O.A.T. status to GSP on the strength of a catchweight fight. If he were to beat Thiago Alves convincingly, it would make a stronger case.

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