Paris, France — UFC welterweight legend Georges St-Pierre was on hand to help introduce the UFC to Paris on Friday.
With MMA legalized just a few short years ago, the promotion finally touches down on French soil for UFC Paris on Saturday, with Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa headlining the card.
While GSP is not from France, the Canadian is a native French speaker, and the most famous French fighter in UFC history — not to mention combat sports history period.
“I wish I had been able to fight in Paris. Unfortunately, the sport wasn’t legal at the time,” GSP told French fans on Friday, before fielding numerous questions from media members and others in attendance.
The big questions being asked of the man many consider the Greatest of All Time were who he considered the GOAT to be — and who would be on his MMA Mount Rushmore.
When it comes to the greatest, it was not himself, nor anyone from his own era, that St-Pierre replied with. Rather, it was the man who started it all.
“I believe the GOAT is Royce Gracie, because he has done stuff in the sport that I believe will never be done again,” GSP stated. “He was fighting at the time that there was no weight class. The sport was unknown. The rules were different. It took immense courage to compete at that time. So for me, the GOAT is Royce Gracie.”
The Gracie family helped found the UFC, with Royce winning the UFC 1, 2, and 4 tournaments in the 1990s.
That having been said, St-Pierre admitted that today’s MMA landscape would likely have passed Gracie by. “Of course if you take Royce Gracie and try to put him in the octagon nowadays, the sport has changed so much over the years, he might not look as good as he was. Of course not. So if you’re asking ‘who is the GOAT?’ the real answer is, the GOAT is not even born yet, because athletes get better with time. So the best athletes are still coming.”
Later, a fan asked for St-Pierre to choose his “UFC Mount Rushmore.” That was a little tougher for the welterweight great and UFC Hall of Famer.
“I put Royce Gracie first— First of all, just to make sure, Mount Rushmore is four? Four or five? Four right?” That is right, but GSP couldn’t keep it to four.
“Royce Gracie. I would put Royce Gracie because he did stuff at the beginning that nobody had ever done. I’m going to cheat, because I have to put more than four. I would put Amanda Nunes already, even though she has not retired yet. But she’s the best female fighter that’s ever lived, I believe.”
“I would put Khabib, because he had a perfect career. Undefeated. An incredible career,” St-Pierre continued. “I would put Conor McGregor also because he brought the sport to the a different level. I would put Jon Jones and Anderson Silva and Demetrious Johnson, because of their performance.”
A great list, countered the fan who asked the original question — but missing a name. Georges St-Pierre himself.