In the world of MMA, there are a lot of big egos and attitudes that add to the show. Whether it’s fighters showboating in the cage or talking trash before the fight has even started, it’s common for those that make it big to take jabs at each other in other, less literal ways. The best are showered with money and fame, so it only makes sense that they become more ambitious.
With so many big egos clashing, it’s common for commentators, analysts, bettors, and plain old fans to ask themselves one question – who is the greatest of all time? Today we’re taking a look at the top contenders who can be considered the GOAT by taking a look at their fight record and the hype that they commanded.
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Georges “Rush” St-Pierre
For many MMA fans, the answer to our question comes in three simple letters – GSP. Georges St-Pierre is a French-Canadian fighter who achieved champion status in both welterweight and middleweight divisions in the UFC.
He’s also well-known for winning that welterweight champion title twice (along with an interim title) and holding onto one of them for 2,204 days, the second-longest in MMA history. Because of this, he’s often regarded as the best welterweight fighter to date, too.
He also held the record for most title bouts at the time of his 2013 retirement. He returned briefly to secure a win against Michael Bisping in 2017 before making his full retirement official in 2019. With a record of 26 wins and only 2 losses, GSP was added to the UFC’s Hall of Fame in 2020.
Jon “Bones” Jones
Another MMA legend from a heavier weight division is Jon Jones, a light heavyweight fighter known for his long striking distance. He simultaneously holds the record for most title wins in UFC history at 14 and joint most title defenses in UFC history at 11.
Throughout his career, Jones bested seven UFC Hall of Famers in the octagon and currently has a record of 26 wins, 1 loss by disqualification, and 1 no contest. That brings us to some of Jones’ controversies with crime and performance-enhancing drugs, which have hobbled his record. Many fans believe that Jones’ impressive record isn’t him fighting at his best and that he could be a whole lot better if activities outside of the cage didn’t hold him back.
Jones has recently moved to the heavyweight division. Fans of his are waiting with bated breath to see how he measures up against UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and whether he can make a name for himself in this new division.
Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov is at the top of many people’s GOAT list, especially after his victory against Conor McGregor in 2018. While McGregor is also an honorable mention for the GOAT, his best-in-the-industry striking power was systematically outmatched by Khabib’s ability to take him down and out-grapple him.
While everybody else here has racked up a few losses, the same just can’t be said for Khabib. He retired in March of 2021 with a very impressive 29 wins and 0 losses, making him the GOAT if you’re going purely by his win/loss ratio. At the time of his retirement, he was the longest-reigning lightweight champion after winning in April of 2018 and holding it until his retirement.
He’s still considered the best lightweight fighter of all time by many pundits and his influence on the sport is undeniable. Throughout his career, he became the most-followed Russian on Instagram and has since signed a football contract in Russia after his retirement.
Anderson “The Spider” Silva
While his win-loss record isn’t as spotless as our first three candidates, Anderson Silva is a shoo-in for the GOAT. Achieving 34 wins, 11 losses, and 1 no contest throughout his career, Silva is often credited as revolutionizing MMA with his combined Muay Thai, taekwondo, boxing, and capoeira fighting traditions. Many of the industry’s biggest talking heads, like Dana White and Joe Rogan, have named Anderson Silva as their GOAT.
Also, we mentioned how Georges St-Pierre has the second-longest title reign at 2,204 days. Who has the longest? That’d be Silva, who held his UFC middleweight champion title for 2,457 days from 2006 to 2013 before finally losing it after an impressive winning streak of 16 victories.
Silva gradually became more interested in boxing, which he pursues today after having left the UFC in November of 2020. Like many other UFC legends, he has also put in a few movie and TV appearances.
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