Since its inception in 1993, the UFC has grown rapidly in popularity and has given a spotlight to the world of mixed martial arts (MMA).
Traditionally known as cage fighting, MMA is understood as a brutal and challenging combat sport, pushing its athletes to their physical and mental limits.
Yet, in a merciless world, both inside and outside the cage, who can be considered the greatest?
The GOAT (greatest of all time) debate has plagued every conceivable sport since the beginning of time, with spectators eager to define the perfect competitor and make a finalised decision on who is the greatest.
Luckily, as UFC is a fairly new series, the debate seems to fetch up the same names. Names such as Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre are thrown around in an attempt to finish the argument, but each of these fighters, despite their successes, have weaknesses too.
One UFC fan on Twitter, who goes by the username of @DovySimuMMA, has even gone as far as claim there isn’t a GOAT in MMA because all the contenders have serious flaws.
Khabib has become one of the most prominent names to emerge from UFC, and holds the record as the longest-reigning lightweight champion, holding the title from April 2018 to his retirement and vacating the title in March 2021.
The Russian holds an undefeated record of 29 wins in UFC, and while beating the likes of Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor and Justin Gaethje is mightily impressive, these are the only three who Khabib defended his title from.
Jon Jones, on the other hand, seems to be a fairly open and closed case. While he boasts an impressive 26 wins to one loss and defending his light heavyweight title from the likes of Dominick Reyes, Chael Sonnen and Daniel Cormier, his record isn’t exactly squeaky clean. Having failed drug tests at four different events, including performance enhancing substances such as Turinabol, Jones has tarnished his own reputation.
Holding the record for longest title reign in UFC history, Anderson Silva dominated the middleweight class in the late 2000s, yet his experience of 46 MMA bouts ultimately leads to his downfall, losing 11 of them. After losing his to Chris Weidman in 2013, twice, Silva continued to lose five fights up to his most recent in 2020.
Another strong contender Georges St-Pierre brings a thriving career of 26 wins in 28 bouts. Yet, his two losses to two different Matt’s serve as a cold reminder that despite his triumph he will never hold the undefeated title.
So is there a GOAT? Well, according to this one MMA fan, seemingly not, but like in most sports, this is what makes the discussion entertaining.
As new names enter the cage and add to the list, the conversation grows bigger and more debatable, leaving arguments that despite their successes every athlete has weaknesses, allowing this conversation to be everlasting.