#2. Israel Adesanya – UFC middleweight champion
The identity of the UFC’s greatest-ever middleweight is no mystery, as Anderson Silva’s legendary title reign has probably still never been surpassed by any UFC fighter. ‘The Spider’ captured the UFC middleweight title from Rich Franklin at UFC 64 in October 2006. He then held it until UFC 162 in July 2013, when he was dethroned by Chris Weidman.
Along the way, Silva made an unbelievable 10 successful title defenses, knocking off high-level contenders such as Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson.
On the face of it, then, it seems practically impossible for current UFC middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya to surpass the achievements of ‘The Spider’, even if he did defeat a past-his-prime Silva at UFC 234.
Incredibly, though, it may not be as implausible that Adesanya could surpass Silva as you may think.
Firstly, ‘The Last Stylebender’ looks completely dominant over the UFC’s current 185-pound division. After winning his title from Robert Whittaker in October 2019, he’s already made three successful defenses, knocking back challenges from Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori.
Like Silva in his prime, Adesanya never came close to losing his title in any of those bouts. Given the ease with which he dispatched the likes of Whittaker and Derek Brunson previously, it’s unlikely that there are any contenders on the horizon capable of beating him.
Adesanya might not surpass Silva’s number of title defenses. However, given ‘The Spider’ ended up with a dented reputation thanks to some positive drug tests, if ‘The Last Stylebender’ can continue to impress, he may well surpass his reputation as the UFC’s middleweight GOAT.
#1. Kamaru Usman – UFC welterweight champion
It’s safe to say that no other UFC champion will have a tougher time becoming known as the GOAT in their weight class than current welterweight kingpin Kamaru Usman.
That’s because arguably the greatest UFC fighter of all time, Georges St-Pierre, competed in his weight class, dominating the division for the best part of a decade between 2006 and 2014. St-Pierre held the UFC welterweight title on two occasions and put together a total of nine successful defenses along the way.
He turned back the challenge of fighters as good as Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz and B.J. Penn. He even managed to avenge both of his career losses before all was said and done.
However, despite only holding the UFC welterweight title for just over two years – defending it on four occasions in the process – Usman is well on his way to making a genuine challenge to St-Pierre’s legacy.
‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ has been every bit as dominant as GSP was over the welterweight division. Not only has he beaten the likes of Colby Covington, Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal convincingly, but he remains unbeaten in the UFC at 14-0.
St-Pierre managed a total of 20 victories in the octagon. However, due to his two defeats being sandwiched in there, Usman already has the longest winning streak in UFC welterweight history.
And while he still needs another five successful title defenses to match the great Canadian, based on how dominant he’s looked to this point, there’s every chance he can pull it off.
If he does, he may well go down not only as the UFC’s welterweight GOAT, but as the greatest overall fighter in UFC history, too.