This past Saturday in the main event of UFC 286, the welterweight title was on the line. Former champion Kamaru Usman (20-3) was trying to regain the welterweight title from Leon Edwards (21-3, 1 NC). The fight was the third matchup between the two men.
In their first fight years ago, Usman completely dominated. The second fight saw Edwards have a solid first round before getting dominated most of the rest of the fight. Then, with 60 seconds left, Edwards landed a head kick that changed UFC history. He knocked out Kamaru Usman to claim the title.
The immediate rematch was going to tell us a lot. Was Edwards’ win just a fluke due to a lapse of judgement and an error from Usman? Or, would it tell us that the new king of the welterweights was Leon Edwards? Turns out, there’s a new king atop the welterweight division.
UFC welterweight GOAT debate is closed… for now
Entering the second fight with Edwards, there was a strong debate regarding who is the greatest welterweight of all time. Was it Kamaru Usman or was it Georges St. Pierre (26-2)? At the time, Usman had never lost in the UFC. GSP lost twice, but both fights he got back in emphatic fashion.
GSP lost his first title opportunity against Matt Hughes. He would then go on to finish Hughes the next two times they fought. He was surprised and knocked out by Matt Serra in his first title defense. Then, he dominated and finished Serra in their second fight. Other than that, GSP never lost inside the octagon officially. Say what you want about the Hendricks fight but it goes in the history books as a win.
Kamaru Usman had a real case as the greatest of all time. He had defeated a long-standing champion in Tyron Woodley then defended his title five consecutive times. Easily you could say that his competition was stiffer than GSP’s which is why people like Joe Rogan had Usman as the greatest of all time.
That said, these two fights against Edwards changes the debate in my eyes. Had Usman come out and dominated Edwards in the third fight to show the second fight was a fluke, he’d have more ground to stand on. Like GSP did when he dominated Hughes and Serra after losing to them.
After those fights, nobody sat there and thought that Matt Hughes or Matt Serra was better than GSP. The case is different with Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman. After this last fight, you can’t say that Kamaru Usman is better than Leon Edwards. You just can’t and for that reason, I think the debate is closed.
Say what you want about the competition, but nobody in his time was better than Georges St. Pierre. And his only losses were avenged and for that reason, he sits atop the GOAT debate for UFC welterweights.