As a self confessed fan of Dan Henderson , I'd like to state that I find him as a sure shot top 10 GOAT MMA fighter .
Not so sure about the top 5 .
IMO , Hendo's insane strength of schedule has been underappreciated by the MMA audience at large.
Going back to his forays as a 199 pound HW beating Big Nog , Gilbert Yvel , Wanderlei Silva [in a MW matchup ] during his first 10 pro MMA fights in 2000 , Hendo was clearly not afraid of throwing down with significantly larger foes ,
It's amazing to see the constant flow of top level fighters Hendo has faced for almost 17 years :
Debut in 1999 to end of Pride tenure in 2007 .
Crezio De Souza , Eric Smith , Allan Goes , Carlos Newton [both on the same night in winning UFC 17 tournament]
Rings : King of Kings [1999-2000]:
Bakouri Gogitidze , Hiromitsu Kanehara , Gilbert Yvel , Big Nog , Renato Sobral .
Pride FC [2000-2007]:
Wanderlei Silva , Renzo Gracie , Akira Shoji , Murilo Rua , Ricardo Arona , Big Nog , Shungo Oyama , Murilo Bustamante, Kazuhiro Nakamura , Yuki Kondo , Little Nog , Ryo Chonan , Murilo Bustamante , Kazuo Misaki , Vitor Belfort , Wanderlei Silva .
Quinton Jackson , Anderson Silva , Rousimar Palhares , Rich Franklin , Michael Bisping ,
Jake Shields, Renato Sobral , Rafael Cavalcante , Fedor
Shogun , Machida , Rashad Evans , Vitor Belfort , Shogun , Cormier, Mousasi , Tim Boetsch , Vitor , Lombard , Bisping
He's challenged 24 former Pride FC / StrikeForce / UFC champs , and among them 12 former or current UFC champs alone . That is a record that is unmatched in the history of MMA .
His Pride FC Middleweight and Welterweight reigns remain as the only concurrent reigns in major MMA leagues .
I'd place him in the top 10 along with GSP ,Fedor , Cro Cop, Aldo , Mighty Mouse , Big Nog , Randy Couture , Chuck Liddell & Robbie Lawler.
What do you guys think about Hendo's legacy in this nascent sport of MMA ?
********************** ADDED ON 12 October ***************************
I personally give Hendo a pass for his TRT , since he started it at an old age compared to say , Todd Duffee who started it around 23 years old , and his record even on TRT has been a losing one .
He's also never popped for steroids despite being the beneficiary of TRT , unlike Vitor , and his body type has remained the same throughout .
Hence I'm personally willing to let his TRT slide , while I don't consider Jones and Silva as a part of the GOAT conversations due to their PED failures .
Anyone willing to side with me on this ?