UFC legend Anderson Silva's Mount Rushmore includes Khabib & BJ Penn but there's no Conor McGregor

  • Tom Ward

UFC legend Anderson Silva named the four MMA fighters he would place on the Mount Rushmore of mixed martial arts.

The iconic American National Memorial sculpture features the carved heads of former US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Silva, widely regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, is a 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a 5th dan black belt in Taekwondo.

Speaking to GiveMeSport.com last July, the former UFC middleweight champion selected Khabib Nurmagomedov, BJ Penn, Royce Gracie and Antonio ‘Big Nog’ Rodrigo Nogueira.

However he decided that Conor McGregor did not make the cut when it came to naming which fighters past or present deserve the recognition to be on MMA’s own place of honour.

Asked about the four fighters he’d pick for his version of MMA’s Mount Rushmore, Silva said: “Well, there’s lots of different fighters I respect, but if we’re talking about the best, I would say BJ Penn. What the guy did, he’s amazing, what he did for the sport. 

“Khabib, Khabib is a beast, he’s so amazing. He changed, how you say, his wrestling, his pressure, how he fight, he changed the game.

“I would also say Royce Gracie – he started everything. Without him there would be nothing. None of this, no UFC, nothing.

Anderson Silva is a former UFC middleweight champion

“My best friend ‘Minotauro’ as well. He’s my master. He gave me my black belt in jiu-jitsu.”

I would also say Royce Gracie – he started everything. Without him there would be nothing.

Silva, 47, has a background in boxing and competed in now-defunct British promotion Cage Rage before joining the UFC in 2006.

He debuted on the main card of UFC Fight Night 5 against Chris Leben, winning in impressive fashion after defeating his opponent at 49 seconds into the first round – a sign that the UFC had big plans for the 6ft 2in Brazilian.

Silva left the UFC in November 2020 before making a winning return to the boxing ring with a win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

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Anderson Silva

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This was followed by impressive performances against fellow MMA fighters Tito Ortiz and Bruno Machado respectively.

He’s recently been linked with an appearance against another American – the YouTube star turned prizefighter Jake Paul.

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