By: S. Davis
Demetrious Johnson is the GOAT. Oh wait, no that’s Jon Jones. What about Anderson Silva, bro? Jones is out due to a (second) PED suspension so what now? Let’s take that back and give it to Johnson…but we can’t do that because he’s not being challenged in a shallow division. He’s the GOAT though.
Did Georges St-Pierre just choke out Michael Bisping to win the UFC Middleweight strap? Yeah I remember how great that guy is; okay it’s got to be GSP. He’s the GOAT now! What about Fedor Emelianenko? Maybe, but he never competed in the UFC. However he did beat the prime versions of notable heavyweights that competed for the promotion so that has to count – and his run of dominance is almost with peer. It’s him! I’m sold.
I have to take Royce Gracie over here. He’s only the most – I don’t know – influential figure in the sport. All sizes, all comers, any combat background…he defeated them all while being the smaller man the majority of the time. He’s Bill Russell of mixed martial arts; Babe Ruth too. It started with him.
What about Jose Aldo? I’ll take Cain Velasquez all damn day! His health, bro; it’s going to make him a what-could’ve-been case. Does Alistair Overeem get a nod? Can we get a vote for Fabricio Werdum? Daniel Cormier is the GOAT though, too…right? Where’s Dan Henderson? He held TWO Pride titles when it was the premiere mixed combat promotion. Don’t forget that key point! Yo bro hold my beer it’s got to be the ‘Iceman” or we’re taking this outside. Fuck that player it’s the OG, Tito Ortiz. Weak sauce bro-seph, it’s BJ all damn night!
Where’s the love for Randy Couture? He’s one of the best ever too! There’s no vote for one of the most dominant fighters – regardless of gender – in Cristiane Santos? Oh damn, we can’t hate on Gina Carano. Ronda Rousey is the GOAT! NOOOOOO…it’s Conor McGregor dude!
Now maybe a few salient points were made above but do you get where I’m going here? It’s impossible to quantify the Greatest Ever in a sport that began – in earnest – in 1993. The sport has been around for 24 years. It’s pointless, no outright stupid to claim any one fighter as head and shoulders about the rest when it’s not even at the 50 year mark. Everyone falls victim in trying to stamp the most recent event as the most stellar because it happened during their specific time or it aligns with their specific, and/or emotional, rooting interest.
Over the last year, the GOAT mantle has been passed from Johnson, then moved to Jones, and then back to Johnson. A small section began to make noise for Dominick Cruz, and those same eyes turned in the direction of Cody Garbrandt after his impressive win in their title bout. Daniel Cormier’s name, honestly, doesn’t enter the conversation enough which is absurd when you consider he is legitimately a two-weight champion…you know, back when that accomplishment actually was worthy of merit and not just marketing strategy. TJ Dillashaw recently had his name mentioned and so has Max Holloway. I’m dizzy.
GSP returns and automatically he’s the GOAT – which, honestly, since the sport is still in it’s infancy he may be it’s greatest, most complete, most versatile, competitor along with Jones – and his name should never be lower than second or third on anyone’s list that knows anything of substance. That’s my personal opinion and I’ll defend it against any dissenting argument.
Organized mixed martial arts are truly unlike the other major sports entities in the world that have a century of history that lends itself to these types of definitive arguments. Soccer, basketball, baseball, American football, cricket, tennis, boxing and hockey have over a century of roots of which to mine from – and even the arguments in those respective sports struggle to reach a consensus fit to deem a single athlete The One.
If MMA fans – and sadly – the media tasked with covering the sport, with a lack of reason and measured perspective far too often, I’m afraid, pass the GOAT around every month then how valid is the honor? If there’s a Greatest Of All Time after each event then a greatest doesn’t exist.
Picks: Tecia Torres, Justin Gaethje, Henry Cejudo, Francis Ngannou and Aldo.