Top 5 choices for the greatest UFC fighter of all time
As humans, we are always obsessed with superlatives. And when it comes to Mixed Martial Arts, this obsession goes to a different level altogether. We love to talk and debate about superlatives in the sport and the most common discussion revolves around the best fighters of all time.
Even though MMA is a young sport, a long list of names is usually thrown into such debates and to pinpoint one particular fighter as the greatest is impossible. Despite this, we can always list out a few names that feature in almost all of the debates.
Even after this, the fighter pool will be large so in order to narrow it down further, we are only going to take the UFC into consideration. That being said, here are our top 5 choices for the greatest UFC fighter of all time.
Honourable Mention: Conor McGregor
The inclusion of Conor McGregor in this list might surprise some but considering the mainstream attention he managed to create for the sport, McGregor at least deserves an honourable mention.
He is a former champion in two UFC weight classes and that itself is an achievement that many fighters cannot boast about. Along with this, all of McGregor’s recent fights were pay-per-view record breakers. The McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov fight was in a different league altogether in terms of revenue generated and it shows how much McGregor can draw.
When taking money into consideration, McGregor clearly has the highest net worth among MMA fighters and he has indeed done some hard work to reach such a position.
#5 Daniel Cormier
Daniel Cormier is one of the best UFC fighters out there. The only reason you might have a second thought about this statement is because of the defeat that Cormier suffered against Jon ‘Bones’ Jones. In fact, that is the only recorded loss in Daniel Cormier’s decade long career.
He currently holds a professional record of 22-1 to his name and has fought some big names like Anderson Silva, Stipe Miocic, Roy Nelson, Dan Henderson and Josh Barnett among others.
Cormier also won the titles in the Light Heavyweight division and the Heavyweight division which in turn made him the second simultaneous multi-division champion. Cormier is also the first and only fighter to successfully defend titles in two different UFC weight classes.
But all these achievements are often overlooked because of the rivalry that Cormier has with Jon Jones. At the end of the day, when Cormier hangs up his gloves, he should be remembered for what he did inside the Octagon rather than how he fought against Jon Jones.
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#4 Jon Jones
If it weren't for his messed up personal life, Jon Jones would’ve probably been on top of this list. He started his professional MMA career back in 2008 and was an immediate hit in small promotions. Six fights into his career, Jones managed to get into the UFC and there was no looking back. He embarked on an extraordinary journey in the promotion and became the youngest fighter to win a UFC championship belt when he defeated Mauricio Rua at UFC 128.
Jones then went on to fight names like Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Quinton Jackson, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Daniel Cormier among others. He won all these fights and the only loss that he has on his 23-1 professional record came due to an illegal elbow. This stat is enough to show the dominance of Jones inside the Octagon.
If we keep the drug busts and personal issues aside, Jones is an exceptional talent. And the best part is: he still has plenty of years ahead of him to make a bigger impact.
#3 Demetrious Johnson
Demetrious Johnson is perhaps one of the most underrated fighters in the history of UFC. Whenever people debate about great fighters, Demetrious Johnson is often overlooked just because of the fact that he fought in a smaller weight class.
Some even come up with the argument that Johnson barely had any competition during his run as the Flyweight champion. But piling up 11 successive title defences in the biggest promotion in the world is not a small achievement.
Johnson was so well-rounded during all these fights that he became only the second fighter in the UFC roster to be awarded bonuses in all four possible categories.
He currently has a professional record of 27-3 to his name and is set to embark on a new journey with ONE Championship. It would be interesting to see how Johnson performs in the promotion but no matter what happens, the history books will always classify Johnson as one of the greatest fighters of all time.
#2 Anderson Silva
The recent performance of Anderson Silva against Israel Adesanya was an eye-opener for many fans. The 43-year-old Brazilian was more than a handful for the young Adesanya and all of a sudden, everyone started wondering how Silva would’ve performed against Adesanya during his prime.
In fact, the prime years of Silva deserve a separate section in the UFC history books. He won the UFC Middleweight title and went on to defend it successfully on ten occasions. He fought names like Nate Marquardt, Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort during this period and won against everyone in a decisive manner.
He also holds the record for the longest win streak in the UFC with 16 wins. The failed drug test did leave a black mark on his legendary career but it does not take anything away from what Silva achieved over the years.
#1 Georges St. Pierre
Just like all the other names in this list, Georges St. Pierre needs no introduction. He is someone that managed to stay clean both inside and outside the Octagon. GSP holds a long list of records to his name including most wins in UFC title fights (11).
He has a professional record of 26-2 and GSP managed to avenge both his losses which in turn means that he has defeated everyone that he has fought. Though GSP is known for being the Welterweight champion, he recently returned to the cage and won the Middleweight title by defeating Michael Bisping. This made him the fourth Multi-division champion in UFC history.
BJ Penn, Dan Hardy, Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, Matt Hughes, and Thiago Alves are just a few names that GSP defeated in his career. Even though some fans would argue that GSP’s fights are boring, he did what he had to do to win and his record speaks for itself.
Who are the other fighters that belong to this list and who are the fighters that do not belong here? Let us know in the comments below.