The debate about who is the greatest mixed martial artist of all time is a serious topic for diehard fans. The sport is evolving at such a rapid pace that the current professional MMA fighter is different than any of the participants of the first UFC back in 1993. When we think of “cage fighters” the usual suspects come to mind. We have the pioneers that are part of the UFC’s hall of fame. Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, Randy Couture, Mark Coleman etc… Than we have the new class of MMA fighter such as Anderson Silva, George St. Pierre and Jon Jones who are blazing a new trail. These are fighters that for the most part started their careers training in multiple disciplines such as wrestling, jiu-jitsu, boxing and muay thai. Old school fighters would usually specialize in only one of the martial arts. It’s an unfair comparison because in the early days, fighters would be part of a tournament style and would compete multiple times in one night to be crowned as champion. With standardized rules in place which include 5 minute rounds and a 10 point scoring system similar to boxing, MMA has truly become a sport. Where Royce Gracie could dominate the competition in the early 90’s due to his competitor’s lack of knowledge of Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, fighters these days are prepared for every style. So who is the greatest fighter? Just as Muhammad Ali is widely considered “The Greatest” in boxing, however, was a completely different fighter than the previous generation greats such as Jack Johnson or Jack Dempsey, we have to look at the current mold.
In my opinion the greatest fighter ever is Anderson Silva. He has shown a dominance that has not been seen before in MMA holding a UFC record of 10 consecutive title defenses. One could argue that Fedor Emelianko is the most dominant fighter of all time. This would be a fair argument with the difference being not having the mainstream exposure as result of fighting mostly in Pride. Other than the first Chael Sonnen fight, Anderson has been unstoppable over the last 7 years and is showing no signs of slowing down. At times he resembles a combination of Ali, Bruce Lee and a comic book superhero. The closest competitor to the throne would be Jon Jones. “Bones” has been dominant over former champions, however, has not been in the game long enough. I believe a super fight with one of the other pound for pound greats like George “Rush” St. Pierre or Jonny “Bones” Jones would reinforce Silva’s place in history as the greatest mixed martial artist ever. Who do you feel is the greatest of all time?