The term greatest of all time has been used on numerous occasions over the last few years in the MMA world, as some of the sports most storied fighters have said goodbye to the Octagon. Others have further cemented their claim to the title.
With many fighters being coined as the GOAT, take a look at The Scrap’s top-3 list.
#3. Anderson Silva
At the age of 43, there can’t be much left in the tank of the former UFC middleweight champion. His last 7 fight results read 1 win, 5 losses and 1 no contest (positive tests for Silva and Diaz bout). But this shouldn’t distract from the fact that he is a genuine legend of the sport, with the longest title reign in UFC history (2457 days). Silva also holds the longest win streak in UFC history at 16. If you have watched MMA for as long as I have, you will remember him bursting onto the UFC scene in 2006 at UFC Fight Night 5 with an absolute destruction of the iron jawed Chris Leben. He claimed the belt with an annihilation of Rich Franklin, there can’t be many occasions in UFC history where a champion has been crushed by the challenger as comprehensively as this. UFC commentator Joe Rogan later said that Anderson Silva’s style was a ‘Ballet of Violence.’
At times, Silva could frustrate one in the ring with his antics, taunting opponents to hit him and moving out of reach with his matrix-like ability to avoid their punches. This in ring ‘arrogance’ cost him his world title though, when his ability to avoid punches was drained from him by Chris Weidman, knocking Silva out and unfortunately braking his leg in the rematch. He has never fought for the title since. Silva’s positive drug tests could have also tainted his record.
#2. Jon Jones
Is there a more polarizing fighter in MMA today than light heavyweight king, Jonny Bones Jones. He is probably the most dominant fighter in his weight class the UFC has ever seen, but shrouded in equal amounts of controversy.
His record of 26-1-1 is amazing in itself, given the no contest by a bizarre decision on referee Steve Mazzagatti’s call, penalizing Jones for illegal elbow strikes when his opponent Matt Hamill was already smashed to pieces and barely conscious. His no contest came after a positive test for peds. We could go on at length about Jones’s indiscretions, but just for once I’ll concentrate on his God-given gifts.
Jones has a remarkably unorthodox style for such a big guy, his strikes, spinning elbows, and kicks are those normally utilized by much smaller men. He also possesses superior wrestling skills which he has showcased against guys like Matt Hamill and the Olympic-level, Daniel Cormier. Jones has never lost a championship bout and unlike Silva, never taunts his opponent. On the contrary, he seems to want to inflict damage on his opponents until they either tap or are knocked out. His only fight that has even been close was his first fight with Alexander Gustafsson.
It’s genuinely tough to imagine anyone ever beating Jones in the Octagon. For this reason, and putting aside the controversy, he’s listed as number two on this list.
#1. Georges St-Pierre
GSP is incomparable amongst UFC fighters past and present. A record of 26-2, with his only losses coming against the great Matt Hughes and Matt Serra (perhaps Matt wasn’t a good name for him). In both cases though, they were avenged in devastating fashion by the man nicknamed Rush. His claim for the GOAT title was only strengthened by the way he brushed aside the middleweight champion, Michael Bisping, on his way to taking his belt and becoming a two-weight world champion.
His opponents list is stacked with the all-time great welterweights of the world.
- Matt Hughes
- Josh Koscheck
- B.J. Penn
- Dan Hardy
- Nick Diaz
Although initially known as a Karate fighter, his resume also includes black belts in Brazilian Ju Jitsu and GaidoJitsu under Greg Jackson. Perhaps his most stunning attribute though, was his wrestling ability. In fights against superb wrestlers such as Jon Fitch Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck, he took them all down at will and stuffed their attempts as though he were the master and they were the students.
There are too many fights to say this sets him apart from all the others, but for me to comeback from a huge layoff in an ever changing sport such as MMA, makes him the greatest to ever do it. It’s also worth noting that he also dismantled a champion at a weight he never fought at before. It shows just how good GSP was and still is.
Number one, and by a stretch, for the titles of GOAT in UFC history.