Depending on who you ask, the answer to MMA’s “GOAT” question will always vary. But for Joe Rogan and Demetrious Johnson, one man holds rightfully holds that distinction.
In a recent guesting on MMA Junkie Radio, “Mighty Mouse” explained why he thinks Jon Jones stands out among other greats like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Israel Adesanya.
“His title reign, I’ve seen him train before, how he’s beaten so many great light heavyweights before,” he said. “And then after that it starts to get cloudy, I’m not gonna lie. I think there are athletes that are on their way, like if Khabib would keep on fighting and do five or six or seven or eight more fights, then I’ll definitely throw him in.
“For me, I like to see longevity. I like to see dominance. Longevity is a big thing. When you look at Jon Jones, I think he’s 15 world title fights? That’s a lot of work of staying motivated, staying on top to keep on winning. I think Izzy is on his way. If he goes up to light heavyweight and beats the champion there, and he goes up to fight Jon Jones, he’s definitely on his way.”
As the former longtime UFC flyweight champion elaborated, another important criteria is the ability to use the overall skillset as an MMA fighter.
“Is it a popularity contest? What exactly puts you in that discussion of greatest of all time?” he said. “For me, it’s longevity, how many championships have you done, a little bit of everything. For me, that’s why I put Gegard (Mousasi) in there because when I watch him, I’m like, look at his hands, look at his grappling, look at his submissions. He can do it all.
“Jon Jones, look at his grappling, look at his hands, look at his submissions, look at how long he’s been a champion.”
Johnson himself became part of the GOAT conversation when he held the UFC’s 125-pound title for five consecutive years. He currently fights for ONE Championship and was booked to challenge flyweight champion Adriano Moraes in April, but the bout was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.