After Alexander Volkanovski’s impressive title defence at UFC 266 against Brian Ortega, the featherweight GOAT conversation has to started to spark up.
Volk is currently on 20 fight win streak, (10 in the UFC) with two title defences and has beaten the two other contenders for the crown of the greatest featherweight of all time, beating Jose Aldo once and Max Holloway twice.
However, just because he’s beaten those two, it doesn’t make him the greatest, because every contender for this crown has had different peaks. When Volk faced Jose, the Brazilian was slightly past his prime, so I don’t think it’s fair to declare Volk is better because of that fight. With Holloway vs Aldo though, Jose was still in the tail end of his prime so people are more inclined to support his case over Volk’s case.
According to a vast amount of Holloway fans, him beating Aldo twice is the reason why he’s the greatest of all time in the division, yet if that logic is reciprocated, that’ll mean Volkanovski is the greatest of all time. However unlike the Australian, Holloway has beaten an abundance of huge names over the four years where he really stamped his authority over the division (2015-19). Cub Swanson, current lightweight champ, Charles Oliveira, Anthony Pettis, Frankie Edgar and Brian Ortega are just some of the names he’s not only defeated, but dominated against.
However, if we’re talking about domination over a long period, it’s impossible to overlook Aldo’s 1848 days (5 years) as featherweight champion in his first reign and then coming back from his embarrassing loss to Conor McGregor to defend the belt against Frankie Edgar. Furthermore, that first reign could be extended even longer because he was the WEC champion before he became the UFC champion in the merger fight with Mark Homnick.
This debate is the toughest GOAT debate for me because although Aldo dominated for the longest, he lost to Holloway twice who dominated for around 2-3 years as champ and now Volkanovski has beaten Holloway twice, even if both fights, especially the sequel ,were controversial.
I think the biggest issue is that Alex and Max are both reaching their primes now, even though they’re light years ahead of everyone else in the division and even though Alex is older than Max, Max has been around for much longer and has beaten more top tier talent than Alex.
Another issue for me is that, I can portray an argument for and against each one of these men being in different spots on the rostrum. Nevertheless, as of right now, this is current ranking for the featherweights.
I think if Volk can definitively beat Holloway in the trilogy fight that I expect to see at during Spring next year and then defend the belt again after that, then I’ll have no choice but to label him as the GOAT of the featherweights.