KEY POINTS

  • UFC legend and MMA analyst Chael Sonnen named the most influential UFC athletes in history
  • Sonnen said Royce Gracie and Randy Couture made the most impact but Georges St-Pierre is ultimately the most influential of them all
  • St-Pierre claims he never enjoyed one second of fighting inside the cage

Former UFC title contender and current ESPN MMA analyst Chael Sonnen explained why he thinks Georges St-Pierre is the most influential MMA athlete in history.

Mixed martial arts has gone through a series of adversities before becoming a mainstream sport. During its early days, the sport had minimal fighting rules which made it even more controversial. Today, MMA is a globally-recognized sport and a huge part of it was played by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In a recent video uploaded by ESPN MMA, MMA legend Sonnen talked about the most influential athletes UFC has ever produced. According to Sonnen, one of the founding fathers of UFC Royce Gracie and former UFC two-division champ Randy Couture made the most impact in MMA because they played a huge part in shaping the sport’s future. However, Sonnen “ultimately” thinks it was longtime UFC welterweight St-Pierre who took MMA to another level as far as fighting goes.

“Ultimately, I would say it was passed to Georges St-Pierre. Because Georges was the one athlete to come out and really show us the importance of weaponizing pace,” Sonnen said.

On his official YouTube channel, Sonnen also made a bold statement about how St-Pierre affects his opponents during and prior to the fight. The 43-year-old speculated that “GSP” doesn’t give his challengers enough reason to hate him. And as a result, St-Pierre “puts them in this weird spot” where they would look “foolish” should they ever try to claim they are better than him. And thus far, no fighter has ever tried it.

Sonnen continued with an even more interesting claim about the former UFC middleweight champ. Based on his assessment, St-Pierre “doesn’t come in fights with a strategy.” Even during promos, Sonnen believes that St-Pierre is a “marketing genius” who can sell himself by simply being the iconic fighter he is.

“I don’t believe that Georges comes with any level of strategy or recipe. I don’t. I think Georges is one of these unintentional marketing geniuses. Much like the Diaz brothers,” Sonnen claimed.

Georges St-Pierre Johny Hendricks UFC 167 Georges St-Pierre, right, defended his UFC welterweight crown with a split decision over Johny Hendricks on Saturday night. Photo: Reuters

St-Pierre has been officially retired for years. His last octagon appearance was at UFC 217 where he submitted Michael Bisping to become the new UFC middleweight champ. Since then, the 38-year-old has been linked to an array of UFC stars including Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. However, St-Pierre has never committed to a fight against anybody and even stated that he never enjoyed one second of fighting inside the cage.