It’s the discussion that never ends and gets revisited each year: which UFC fighter can claim to be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time)? There is Canada’s own Georges St-Pierre who arguably is the UFC’s greatest champion; Anderson Silva who UFC President Dana White himself said was the greatest or maybe even Jon Jones who is undefeated in the minds of most UFC fans. We take a look at the contenders.
#1 Georges St-Pierre | Canada | 25-2
We might be a bit biased but following Silva’s steroid scandal, GSP is the undisputed best UFC fighter ever. The former welterweight champion became one of the UFC’s biggest stars and most dominant champs. He has the most wins in UFC title fights (12), second most wins in the UFC (19), and most title defenses in the division (9). And after a three-year hiatus, he’s back fighting to become a two-division champion.
#2 Anderson Silva | Brazil | 34-8
Silva may never get over the taint of his steroid bust but you can’t take away all his incredible accomplishments: most consecutive title defenses (10), most consecutive wins (16), and second most post-fight bonuses (11). Silva wowed everyone with his Matrix-like striking and Spider-like jiu-jitsu skills. Since losing his belt, he hasn’t been the same fighter but he still overcame a horrific leg injury and is still winning at an elite level.
#3 Jon Jones | USA | 22-1
He may already be considered the greatest but the troubled Jones has been more controversy than champion in recent years. Outside a suspect disqualification, Jones is unbeaten in the UFC and is the only man to defeat current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. He has a laundry list of defeated champions from Rashad Evans to Lyoto Machida. No word on when he returns but he’ll be back to reclaim his rightful throne.
#4 Chuck Liddell | USA | 21-8
Before Jones, “The Iceman” was the ironfisted ruler of the light heavyweight division. Liddell was one of the UFC’s biggest stars with his ultraviolent fighting style and trademark mohawk and blue shorts combo. Liddell was an NCAA Division I wrestler but used it in reverse as he tore through his competition to defend his belt four times. His wars with Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz remain some of the UFC’s best fights.
#5 B.J. Penn | USA | 16-11
Fans today will look at Penn’s record and wonder why he’s here but when “The Prodigy” shined it was brief but bright. The first American World Jiu-Jitsu Championship Gold medalist, Penn began his MMA career with the UFC and became an instant star. One of only three multi-division champions, Penn is credited as the first star of the lighter weight classes and his lightweight title defense record (3) still stands today.
#6 Matt Hughes | USA | 45-9
“In order to be the man, you’ve got to beat the man”. Both GSP and Penn struck welterweight gold by going through Hughes, who after those two, was the best welterweight the UFC has ever seen. Hughes fought at an incredible pace and despite simply calling himself as a wrestler, he outgrappled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts like Royce, Rickson, and Renzo of the renowned Gracie family, and former champion Matt Serra.
#7 Randy Couture | USA | 19-11
If Couture symbolized anything, it’s that age didn’t matter. Arguably the best athlete at over 40, Couture became the first two-division champion when he won the heavyweight and light heavyweight titles. He holds victories over Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, and Tim Sylvia, all former champions in their own rights. Couture started MMA late and retired numerous times but he aged gracefully and became the UFC’s first three-decade star.
#8 Demetrious Johnson | USA | 25-2
He isn’t a star but “The Mighty Mouse” is the UFC’s most underappreciated all-time great. The first and only flyweight champion, Johnson tied GSP for second-most title defenses in UFC history and he could have sole possession of first before 2017 ends. Combining quickness with skill and strategy, Demetrious Johnson is the closest thing to a flawless fighter and at only 30 he still has plenty time to add to his legacy.
#9 Conor McGregor | Ireland | 21-3
If this list was based on star power, McGregor would be at the top. Few fighters have accomplished what McGregor has within his first four years in the promotion: two division championships, fastest championship victory in UFC history, and nine post-fight bonuses. He won eight of his nine victories by knockout, all within the first two rounds and this isn’t even mentioning how he put fight promotion to a different level.
#10 Royce Gracie | Brazil | 15-2
The UFC’s first legitimate star. Royce Gracie revolutionized martial arts when he put the world on notice by winning three of the first four UFC tournaments despite being the smaller man. Gracie became an inaugural inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame and to this day still holds the UFC record for most submission victories (11). Like Anderson Silva, he had a steroid scandal but his legacy is all but untouchable.
Canadian UFC Fighters
Not enough can be said about GSP and listing his accomplishments will take forever. The all-time great isn’t the only Canadian to make waves in the UFC. Rory Macdonald, Alexis Davis, and David Loiseau are just a few who have fought for a title but even the next generation looks bright starting with Misha Cirkunov. Officially a Latvian, the light heavyweight grappler fights out of Toronto and is 4-0 in the UFC all via finish. He could be one or two big wins away from a title shot. Middleweight Elias Theodorou is another bright prospect and is 5-1 in the UFC. On top of his superb wrestling, he has debatably the best hair in the promotion. Last but not least is lightweight Olivier Aubin-Mercier with world-class grappling and 4-1 record fighting out of GSP’s native province.