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Dana White, Leon Edwards disagree on welterweight GOAT debate between Kamaru Usman and Georges St-Pierre

UFC 268: Usman v Covington 2 Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

When Kamaru Usman sets foot in the octagon at UFC 278 on Saturday, he’ll be looking for a sixth consecutive title defense while also attempting to extend his unprecedented UFC winning streak to 16 consecutive fights.

While a win over Leon Edwards would still leave him three title defenses behind Georges St-Pierre for the all-time record at welterweight, UFC President Dana White argues “The Nigerian Nightmare” has already cemented himself as the best-ever at 170 pounds.

“Look at what he’s done,” White told The Jim Rome Show. “He’s never lost here. He’s lapping guys in that division. He’s on his way to GOAT status. The guy’s going to be in the conversation. This Saturday if he wins, he breaks Anderson Silva’s record for consecutive title defenses, and then he has be talked about with Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, GSP.

“He’s definitely the greatest welterweight of all time. There’s no doubt about it. If you just look at the competition that he fought, that he beat, that he defended the title against and he’s breaking the record. He’s the greatest welterweight ever. After Saturday, you start talking about him being one of the greatest ever in the sport.”

It’s a subjective debate, regardless of who’s involved, but Usman has definitely done his part to sit beside St-Pierre when it comes to a list of accomplishments in the division.

Usman currently trumps St-Pierre when it comes to his UFC winning percentage because he hasn’t tasted defeat in the octagon. So far, he’s suffered only one loss in his entire career, which came in his second professional fight in 2013.

Of course, St-Pierre still holds records for the most wins in welterweight title fights at 12, the most wins in the entire division with 19. He’s also a UFC Hall of Famer, an achievement Usman will likely add to his resume as well after he retires.

For his part, Edwards won’t try to diminish Usman’s record ahead of their fight because he likes the idea of beating a champion so many consider one of the best to ever do it.

That said, the 30-year-old welterweight from England still puts St-Pierre on top of his all-time great list even if his reasons might be a little more selfish.

“I’d probably go with Georges,” Edwards told The Fighter vs. The Writer. “I grew up watching Georges, so I’d probably edge him because of that. He’s never been an opponent of mine. As far as skillset goes, if it’s skill for skill, I’d probably go with Georges.

“At this moment, I just see [Usman] as an opponent. I don’t really look at his resume and compare to Georges. I haven’t put much thought into it. He is good in what he does. He’s got five fights defending his belt and even all his rematches, he went out there and did what he needed to do to win.”

One thing is for certain, however, and that is Edwards hopes a win over Usman will finally earn him a little more respect, especially when it comes to the running debate over the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.

“When I do go out there and beat him, you’ve got to put me up in the pound-for-pound [rankings] if that’s the case,” Edwards said. “If you consider him the pound-for-pound [best] and I go out there and starch him, I feel I’ll be up there as well.”

Following an arduous journey to finally arrive at the title shot, Edwards isn’t allowing the moment to weigh on him too much. He respects everything Usman has done, but he expects the champ’s reign atop the division will come to a stunning end on Saturday night.

“This feels like I belong here,” Edwards said. “I don’t feel anxious, I don’t feel nervous. I feel like I truly belong here. I’ve earned this spot and it’s a long time coming. I’ve visualized it many years and it will see it on Saturday night.

“In a perfect world, I can knock him out, I can sub him out in short time. I can choke him out, I can knock him out. I can win by decision. Anywhere the fight goes, I’m comfortable. Anywhere the fight goes. I’m fully prepared to go wherever. I’m not going in there thinking I’m only going to strike with him. I’m going in there thinking I am going to beat you by any means necessary and that’s my mentality going into the fight.”

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