Who is the greatest of all-time (G.O.A.T.)? Through the span of sports history, media, players, coaches and fans alike have sought to answer this question in their respective sports. This question alone causes more debates, temper tantrums and broken friendships than any other within the sports world.
As grown men and women gather around the proverbial water cooler each day to discuss and digest the latest in sports, those who follow mixed martial arts have long debated this topic.
The debate still lingers on.
In the world of mixed martial arts, the debate of the G.O.A.T. has raged on since the inception of the sport. It starts with Royce Gracie and now resides with UFC middleweight champion, Anderson Silva. Silva has dominated the middleweight division since his UFC debut in 2006 against Chris Leben. After winning the title that same year — against then champion Rich Franklin — Silva has successfully defended his title a record 11 times, earning him the title of greatest of all-time. Or did it?
Currently the G.O.A.T. debate rages on between Silva and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Jones burst onto the UFC scene just two years after Silva and has been on a tear ever since. Jones won championship gold in 2011 at UFC 128 defeating Mauricio “Shogun” Rua by TKO. Since then Jones has defended his light heavyweight championship a record-tying five times.
In the end, it’s their body of work and sport dominance that truly determines who receives the greatest of all-time label. Both men have shown the ability to finish fights, dominate opponents and clean out a full UFC divisional roster. As we begin to assess their body of work it leaves us with this question.
Who truly is the greatest of all time?
That question is a paradox that may never truly be answered. Perhaps the better question is, who’s the greatest at this time? Who’s created the greatest legacy so far and will anyone ever surpass said accomplishments? All these questions are valid and contribute to the culmination of the final answer.
If that’s the case then it’s pretty clear that Anderson Silva has established himself as the G.O.A.T. right now.
Do you have an opinion on the greatest mixed martial artist to ever grace the octagon, ring or cage? I’m assuming you have a clear fighter in mind and if you do then I’d love to hear it. Let me know by contacting me on Twitter at @scottlevesque.
Scott Levesque writes a weekly column for the Clarion on mixed martial arts. He will cover MMA at the local, state and national levels. His handle on Twitter is @scottlevesque.