The GOAT conversation is always an interesting one, there are so many different perspectives and I love debating about it. Since the retirement of Khabib Nurmagomedov, the conversation has sparked up once again. So today I’m going to rank my personal top 5 MMA fighters of all time. By the way, I rank my lists is by: fight record, title duration, competition level, dominance within fights, how good they were in their prime and longevity. This list will probably cause serious controversy.
5) Fedor Emelianenko
In my opinion, the best fighter to never step in the UFC. Fedor holds a record of 39-6. The Russian has been fighting professionally since 2000 and is still fighting and winning today. His sambo style of fighting is something we always see with Russians and he was the real pioneer of that style. We’ve seen the likes of Khabib use and master it in recent years. Fedor in his prime used to finish his opponents in the first round without a mark on his face and this is why he makes my top 5 list over some people you may have expected to be on this list. One thing that holds Fedor from being higher on this list for me is the competition aspect. I think if he fought in the UFC he would’ve gotten even more recognition and if you look at Fedor’s time in Strikeforce around 2010 and 11, he had a three fight losing streak to men, barring Antonio Silva, that succeeded in the UFC. Nonetheless, Fedor is still an incredible fighter and I wish I got to watch more of him in his prime. Maybe if that was the case he could’ve been higher.
4) Anderson Silva
This is where my list gets controversial. Anderson Silva was incredible. The key word in that sentence being ‘was’. In his prime, this man was unstoppable. 11 titles fights in a row, 10 defences. The only reason he lost the Middleweight belt was his cockiness against Chris Weidman. Silva is the greatest striker of all time, in my opinion there’s no one that comes close. Technically brilliant, footwork to hand speed, the ability to gauge distance and switch stance was next to none. However, I think Silva’s love for fighting was really his downfall in terms of his all time ranking. Silva has only won 1 fight in his last 8 and it’s evident he’s so much slower and not as good as he was in his prime. I think if he retired after his loss to Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 he could’ve been in the top 3, but 4th it is for The Spider.
3) Georges St-Pierre
I deliberated on this for a long time, and no matter which order I put the top three, it’s going to spark WW3. To be honest, the top three are practically inseparable but I’ve gone with GSP for number three. He’s incredible, retired twice as champion in two different divisions, would fight every two PPV’s at one point, avenged both of his career loses against Matt Hughes and Serra as well. To be honest, all round he’s excellent and I would love to see him fight one more time if plausible. However, there is still debate if he’s the greatest Welterweight of all time, which I think is crazy but some people genuinely believe Matt Hughes, although losing the trilogy to GSP, was a better fighter. To be fair to them, Hughes was incredible and would always fight 3 or 4 times a year and still finished with a record of 45-9. He had double the amount of fights in five less years so of course he’s more likely to lose fights. It’s an interesting debate and I might go into it in more depth at a late date. Nevertheless, if you were to have him as your GOAT I’d understand and wouldn’t even argue with you to be honest, but for me he’s number three.
2) Khabib Nurmagomedov
29-0. He hadn’t even reached his peak yet. Only lost one round in his entire career. Dominant in the most competitive division of the UFC. The man had never been cut. The more I write on this man, the more I appreciate his greatness. His standup is extremely underrated as well, dropping Conor McGregor in his dominant victory over him. What Khabib has achieved in his career is astonishing, and is unlikely to be matched anytime soon. I think if we saw Khabib fight for longer, he would’ve been my number one but just like GSP before, if you have him as your GOAT I wouldn’t dispute it.
There are a lot of fighters that could’ve made this list for me but just missed out. So here they are in order from 6-12. Conor McGregor, Demetrious Johnson, Amanda Nunes, Daniel Cormier, Stipe Miocic, Matt Hughes and Henry Cejudo.
1) Jon Jones
For now, my GOAT is Jon Jones. I think to have the dominance he had in his prime, while doing the things he did that should ruin anyone’s career is insane. The youngest ever UFC Champion, I don’t even remember the last time he fought a three round fight or the last time he didn’t compete without the Light Heavyweight belt being on the line. In his last couple of fights he has come close to losing, however, if you watch those fights back. Jon tactically wrestled both Santos and Reyes in order to win those fights. If Jones beats Miocic or Ngannou for the Heavyweight title when he gets his shot hopefully in 2021, there will be no doubt in my mind that he is the greatest of all time. I think Jon knows he’s coming towards the end of his career and as much as I don’t want it to happen, I think he’ll retire, either in 2022 or 2023. We’ve seen him starting to slow down a bit more, but the fight IQ is there, so I expect Jones to still win when he either fights at Heavyweight or against Israel Adesanya at Light Heavyweight.
This was extremely tough to do and to be honest, I’m having doubts about this list. I’m going to leave it for now but maybe I’ll come back in a year or so and make an updated list. A lot can happen in a year. Thanks for reading and have a good day!