The recent release of The Last Dance, Netflix’s docu-mini series on NBA super star Michael Jordan and his final season with the Chicago Bulls has provided a perfect platform to reignite the longstanding water cooler debate of all sports fans: who is the greatest of all time.
Baseball has Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Barry Bonds. For hockey, there’s Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Bobby Orr. Michael Jordan battles for his claim alongside Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and LeBron James among many others.
For a sport as young as MMA, though, the pantheon of all-time legends is much less settled. Georges St-Pierre just got his UFC Hall of Fame spot, and Anderson Silva & Jon Jones seem like shoo-ins, even if both men come with a potential asterisk. Conor McGregor is unquestionably the most popular star MMA has ever seen. And recently, the former two-division champion took to social media to put together his own MMA Mount Rushmore—one that, unsurprisingly, features him in prominent position.
GOAT THREAD.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 23, 2020
The array of finishes, across 2 divisions, with champion status in 1, Anderson Silva is No.1 MMA GOAT.
My array of finishes, across 3 divisions, with champion status in 2, I’m No.2. If not tied 1.
However still active, No.1 is fully secured by career end. And easily.
GSP is in at 3. Much less array of finishes but champion status in 2. He is far behind though. Reasons = Left 170 after much damage taken+questionable decision. Never re-engaged 170lb successors. Bottled Anderson fight. Only moved when one eyed fighter presented. Played safe.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 23, 2020
Jon is 4. Maybe tied 3. More array of finishes than 3 and still active, but champion status in just 1. Reasons = Multiple lacklustre decision performances + questionable decision win. Attempting to safe play HW entry/avoiding its champion.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 23, 2020
McGregor did add a bit of a footnote on his feelings about potential PED use and drug test failures, something that has plagued both Jones’ & Silva’s recent careers. With those things in consideration, he feels there’s no other option than to place himself as MMA’s unquestioned GOAT.
Clarity on Silva’s earlier no.1 spot. Most stylistic finishes on resume. Front kicks to face. Up elbow (albeit outside UFC) Thai plum knees leading to broken facial bones. Long list of jaw dropping finishes. Myself/Anderson have the most exciting/important finishes in the sport!— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 23, 2020
One more on George/Jon decision that will clear why I originally gave George 3 and Jon 4 before a maybe tied 3. A lot of Jons opponents were Anderson’s 185lb opponents but the array of stoppages where not there, or nowhere near Anderson’s despite the weight advantage to do so.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 23, 2020
Some fans may be wondering, however, ‘What about Demetrious Johnson?’ ‘What about Khabib Nurmagomedov?’ ‘Mighty Mouse’ holds claim to the longest string of consecutive title defenses in UFC history. But, to McGregor’s way of thinking, the depth simply isn’t there.
Love Mighty Mouse. Always give him credit. One of the most skilled! But in a limited competition division, he eventually left the top tier organisation after losing a match that was then 1-1. Plus he lost his up weight world title attempt against Dominic Cruz.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 23, 2020
And as for Nurmagomedov—the man who dominated McGregor to a 4th round submission win back in 2018? Apparently, the ‘Eagle’ has a lot more work to do if he wants a spot on this list.
Fancy record but a way to go before any GOAT entry. Only HL is win over me with hangover and broken foot. Other than that, made Iaquintas career with bad performance before Cerrone ended it again. 3rds to get Poirier out. 0 array of finishes. Bottled many bouts. Zero else of note— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 23, 2020
It’s all subjective, clearly, but it’d be nice to see a little love thrown Fedor Emelianenko’s way. After all, back in the early 2000s, he seemed like MMA’s unquestioned greatest of all time—even if he’s picked up a few losses in the decade since.