It’s the third day of G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) week and it’s time to look at the best mixed martial artists the world has ever seen. This one was extremely tough to narrow down. People may disagree with some of these choices but that is the beauty of creating these lists, enjoy.
Honourable mentions: Joanna, B.J Penn, Big Nog, Dan Henderson
10. Conor McGregor – This may upset a few MMA purists as McGregor only has 10 UFC fights to his name. But in November 2016, The Notorious One cemented his legacy as an all time great by becoming the first simultaneous two weight world champion holding both the Featherweight and Lightweight belts. McGregor also holds three wins at three different weights within a year. He’s the most high profile fighter with the most to lose every time he fights yet he is always the most willing to take risks. He has the fourth highest win percentage in the UFC at 90%. People can talk about his loss to Nate Diaz where they mock Conor for getting choked out on 10 days notice, but they fail to mention he was battling a staph infection and fighting on antibiotics and then beat him 5 months later when they had equal time to prepare at a weight that favoured Diaz. McGregor also makes this list for what he has done for the sport, he is the biggest PPV draw in MMA history, he has transcended the sport and made it one of the most popular sports in the world where the UFC is now valued at $4.2 billion. McGregor also holds the fastest time to win a UFC title fight, knocking out Jose Aldo in spectacular fashion within 13 seconds. The Irishman is one of the best and most efficient strikers and has notable wins over Aldo, Holloway and Alvarez.
9. Randy Couture – The Natural won UFC gold in both the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions and has 15 championship fights to his name. Couture laid the foundation for wrestlers to excel in the UFC and some would say he is the creator of the ground and pound technique. His win against Tim Sylvia was one of the greatest upsets the sports has ever seen and is probably still one of the best heavyweight bouts ever. He holds other notable wins over Ortiz, Liddell and Belfort.
8. Matt Hughes – Hughes had 29 wins before getting his first UFC championship fight in 2001. A fight in which he won by slamming his opponent so hard to the ground it knocked him out. That just shows you the amount of power Hughes had and he was one of the strongest to get in the octagon. He was one of the best wrestlers I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing and his grappling was mightily impressive too. He is the victim of being in the same era as GSP at 170 lbs and that sadly overshadows how good he was. Hughes’ win column is littered with some of the biggest names in the history of the sport with Georges St-Pierre, Royce Gracie and BJ Penn, not bad.
7. Chuck Liddell – The Ice Man was the first to bring the sport to the mainstream. What he did for the sport alone puts him in the top ten of this list just like McGregor. The Hall of Famer was an advocate for the use of defensive wrestling where he would use his takedown defence and then use his superior striking which is shown by the fact that he’s won by KO/TKO in 13 of his 21 wins. If he had retired before his chin was shot he would be at the top of the list, but fighting till he was 40 and getting KOed by guys who prime for prime he would have beat puts him lower down on this list.
6. Demetrious Johnson – If you think Mighty Mouse doesn’t belong here then you clearly have no appreciation of just how good the Flyweight champion is. Often under appreciated for his smaller size Johnson has beat everyone the UFC has put in front of him since his move to 125 pounds. He is sadly the victim of the lack of quality in the division he reigns in, due to the fact there are no fighters on his level it seems as though Johnson gets an easy fight every time. The truth is he is just miles better than any one in his division. Fighters like Dodson and Benavidez are great fighters and it’s a credit to Johnson that he’s beat both twice. Johnson should soon break Silva’s record for the most consecutive title defences and then maybe he will search for challenges elsewhere.
5. Fedor Emelianko – The Russian was unstoppable for a decade. The Last Emperor went 28 fights unbeaten between 2001 and 2009 with just six of those bouts going to the judges scorecards. Fedor currently has 17 submission wins to his name and 10 TKO/KO wins, showing how good he was at finishing his opponents. During his peak the big man was invincible. Naturally Fedor has declined but it is hard to forget how good he was and he is still the best heavyweight to ever grace the octagon.
4. Jose Aldo – Some will always think of Aldo as the man who was slept by McGregor in 13 seconds, but that doesn’t take away his legendary status. The Brazilian is only 30 years of age but it feels as though he should be much older with all he has accomplished. Aldo is a great versatile fighter who can fight on the ground being a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Andre Pederneiras, but he can also fight standing up and has some of the most brutal leg kicks ever seen in MMA. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Jose is his takedown defence, which can nullify the best wrestlers in the world. Aldo has made some great fighters look average like Faber and Edgar. Aldo had 7 straight title defences before dropping the belt to McGregor in December 2015. With 26 wins and 2 losses, Aldo is still one of the best ever.
3. GSP – GSP is the most dominant Welterweight of all time. Rush has 9 consecutive straight title defences to his name against some of the best MMA fighters in the world like Nick Diaz, Matt Hughes and B.J Penn. The only criticism of St Pierre is that he rarely put people away, but his fighting style produced results. GSP has the most minutes in the cage in UFC title fights ever. He has the second most wins of anyone in the UFC despite last fighting in November 2013. He holds the record for the most wins in UFC title bouts. He has the third highest win percentage of anyone in the UFC and has the third longest winning streak, which is still active. His impressive statistics continue, but it could take me all day to write them out. Maybe he will add more to the list with a comeback on the horizon.
2. Anderson Silva – Even at the age of 42 Silva is still putting on fantastic fights, most notably against Michael Bisping in London in early 2016. Unlike GSP, Silva is one of the most entertaining fighters to have ever lived. His creative striking separated him from the rest of the field and he has extreme talent on the mat with his 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He has knocked out greats like Sonnen and Belfort and he’s submitted greats like Sonnen and Henderson, showing he could do it all. He has 13 championship wins to his name, more than any Middleweight ever. The Spider also has the longest winning streak of all time standing at 16 wins, which came to an end when he first fought Weidman in 2013. His legacy may be tarnished to some after he popped for drostanolone and androsterone, but he’ll always be an all time great.
1. Jon Jones – For me Jon Bones Jones is the greatest of all time. Some will say his personal problems have ruined his chances of being the G.O.A.T for them and that’s fine, I completely understand that, he is the p4p biggest f**k up in the game, but nothing will change how good he is in the octagon. He is the most dominant fighter ever and in my eyes is the only unbeaten fighter to fight at such a high level (his DQ loss to Hamill should never have stood as the rule is stupid). Jones is the most creative big man I’ve ever seen. His wrestling is amazing which is shown by the fact he is the only mixed martial artist to take down Cormier. A second win against Cormier will cement his place as the best of all time. The wins that he has on his resume are in no doubt the best of all-time. He was beating some of the best at a young age, he’s only 29 now and we will hopefully see plenty more of Jones in the future.