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Georges St-Pierre understands Kamaru Usman's callout of Canelo Alvarez as he made reference to UFC's power over their fighters and offered a crucial bit of advice to Conor McGregor ahead of his anticipated Octagon return.
Usman has entered the divisional GOAT conversation following his dominant reign as UFC welterweight champion, beating the likes of Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal.
Has he eclipsed St-Pierre's body of work at 170lbs? Well, the legendary Canadian, who reigned over the UFC welterweight division during his prime, has reason to believe 'The Nigerian Nightmare' could well be the best ever UFC welterweight.
He alluded to the evolution of the sport, citing better knowledge and technology.
Asked if Usman is the UFC welterweight GOAT, St-Pierre told SPORTbible: "It's possible. I mean, he is incredible. He's the best right now. And sport always evolves. The fighters of today are better than the ones of yesterday - generally speaking. The one in the future will be better than the one of today. So, like Einstein said, If I've seen further than my predecessor is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants.
"They are starting with a head start. They have stuff that we didn't have back in the day, and the future generation would have tools that we don't have today. So, it's normal. That's how it is. It's not necessarily that the guys get better as the they have access to better knowledge, better technology."
Usman has a UFC title defence against Leon Edwards on deck. But that hasn't stopped him from eyeing a mega cross-over showdown against Canelo.
His pursuit of the Mexican sensation has been ridiculed by fans and critics, including UFC president Dana White - though St-Pierre recognises the motive behind the callout of the superstar boxer.
He explained the promotion's structure and spoke of his own situation with dealing White and Co when he was an active UFC champion.
"It's about the money," he said. "They all want a better payday. They see all these boxers; they are winning millions and millions of dollars and they want a better payday. The way it works with the UFC, it's very hard because fighters don't have a lot of power. UFC have a monopoly over everything. And it's very hard. I'm lucky I was competing in an era where I could negotiate pay-per-view buys - a piece of the pie.
"Even though we were underpaid, at least I had a little bit of power in my negotiation, but now, I think all of PPV goes to the ESPN deal. I think it's gone now and a lot of the fighters, unfortunately for them, don't have the power.
"It could have been worse with the era before me, it was terrible. The one with the old days of the UFC, Mark Coleman and all these guys didn't make much money at all. So, I'm very lucky to have been born in this era where fighters have some kind of power."
As for McGregor's comeback, St-Pierre believes the 33-year-old can return to his best, but feels he needs to go back to his old ways and take himself out of his comfort zone.
"I think it's possible, yeah! I think he can do it. It's hard when your belly is full and you go eat at the buffet. I think you need to take himself out of his comfort zone and do a training camp and go back to his old route."
McGregor, who's on a two-fight losing skid, has showed off his new physique having bulked up ahead of his UFC comeback.
He's even called for a showdown against Usman, with St-Pierre refusing to rule out McGregor making history by becoming a three-weight UFC champion.
"Yeah, he looks very big. He gained a lot of weight. Yeah, it would be interesting," he said of the idea of McGregor competing at welterweight.
St-Pierre continued: "I think Usman is the best right now. However, it doesn't mean if you're the best that you always get to win. It's not the best fighter that wins the fight, it's the fighter that fights the best the night of the fight so anything can happen."
Usman seems willing to throw down with McGregor, yet isn't convinced he'll sign on the dotted line.
The Irishman isn't short of options, though, with the likes of Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler campaigning for a fight.
Not to mention Jake Paul, whose relentlessly taunted and called out the 'Notorious' on social media and beyond.
The YouTuber-turned-boxer has also made a lot of noise in the UFC fighter pay realm, having become an outspoken advocate for better pay.
St-Pierre paid a big compliment to the ambitious 25-year-old as he praised his entrepreneurialism and boxing skills.
"He makes a lot of noise and it makes a lot of money, he's a great entrepreneur, a great boxer," he said. "I've seen him fight and boxing is great right you know what he did is just unbelievable.
"And I'm glad for him I've known him a little bit very nice guy, always been very nice with me. We're in the entertainment business and he found a way to get there and create a lot of attention and make a lot of noise and it works very, very well. I wish him the best of luck for his next challenge."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Instagram
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