LAS VEGAS – As reigning UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman continues to set promotional records, UFC boss Dana White believes "The Nigerian Nightmare" has already proven himself to be the greatest 170-pounder in the company's history.
That's a title that has long been reserved for UFC Hall of Famer Georges St-Pierre, but White believes Usman's accomplishments have earned him welterweight GOAT status.
"I don't think there's any denying that he's the greatest welterweight of all-time," White told MMA Underground. "The question is, is he up there with everybody else? You know what I mean? He's up there with Jon Jones and Anderson Silva and GSP. He's one of the greatest of all-time. He's already the greatest welterweight. There's no denying that."
Kamaru Usman (20-1 MMA, 15-0 UFC) is in action this Saturday, headlining UFC 278 at Utah's Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. There, he'll take on Leon Edwards (19-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) in a rematch seven years in the making, with "Rocky" going unbeaten since losing to Usman in 2015 and now earning his way into a title shot in their second meeting. The event streams live on ESPN+ pay-per-view (10 p.m. ET).
Should Usman win, it would be his incredible 16th straight UFC win, tying him with former middleweight champ Silva for the most consecutive wins for any fighter inside the company's famed octagon. That feat, alone, is worthy of greatest of all-time talk, but St-Pierre does hold one mark over Usman.
A UFC 278 win for Usman would be his sixth consecutive title defense. St-Pierre had nine straight defenses of his belt between 2008 and 2013 before electing to vacate the belt and retire from the sport.
For White, that's not enough to sway his opinion. He points to the fact that Usman has already beaten Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal twice each – as he now looks for a second win over Edwards, as well – as proof that Usman's dominance is on another level, and even brings up his history as a winner of "The Ultimate Fighter" to further solidify his case.
"Look at the guys that he's beat, and he's coming around to beat them again for a second time," White said. "He's lapping guys that are just nasty – and the best being Colby Covington. I mean, if Kamaru Usman does not exist, Colby Covington is the world champ – and he beat him twice. I mean, you just, you can't deny it.
"It's always a little unfair looking at different eras, you know what I mean? He's undefeated. Nobody's ever beat him in the UFC. Won 'The Ultimate Fighter.' I mean, just you can't deny it. I know people want to hate on Usman, and everybody loves GSP. It's a fact."
This story first published at SI.com/MMA.