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UFC legend Anderson Silva reveals his surprising picks for MMA’s ‘Mount Rushmore’

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The UFC legend had some interesting selections, and omissions, in his list of top four MMA fighters ever.

Anderson Silva - UFC/MMA - Columbia Pictures’ “Sicario: Day Of The Soldado” Premiere
Anderson Silva on the red carpet for Sicario: Day Of The Soldado in 2018.
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Anderson Silva is a popular choice among those debating who is the Greatest Of All Time in the realm of MMA. The former UFC middleweight champion had a historic title run throughout the mid-to-late 2000s that included a bevvy of sensational finishes.

‘The Spider’ fought out his UFC contract last year and has since turned his attention to boxing, beating former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last month. Now, it seems, he is targeting a big pay day opposite none other than Logan Paul.

When he left the UFC, the Brazilian did so with numerous records in the promotion. Among those records are most knockouts and finishes in UFC title fights, most knockdowns in UFC history and longest win streak and title reign in UFC history.

Despite his list of accolades Silva didn’t include himself when asked by Give Me Sport to construct his own ‘MMA Mount Rushmore’.

Mount Rushmore, a common term for thought experiments regarding top four lists, is a four headed monument that was carved into Tȟuŋkášila Šákpe (Six Grandfathers) in the Black Hills of South Dakota between 1927 and 1941.

“Well, there’s lots of different fighters I respect, but if we’re talking about the best, I would say BJ Penn,” said Silva when talking through his list of best four MMA fighters ever. “What the guy did, he’s amazing, what he did for the sport.”

“Khabib, Khabib is a beast, he’s so amazing,” added Silva. “He changed, how you say, his wrestling, his pressure, how he fight, he changed the game.”

Silva chose two fellow Brazilians to round out his list; UFC 1, 2 & 4 winner Royce Gracie and former PRIDE heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

“I would also say Royce Gracie - he started everything. Without him there would be nothing. None of this, no UFC, nothing. My best friend ‘Minotauro’ as well. He’s my master. He gave me my black belt in jiu-jitsu.”

Fighters not picked by Silva, but who would surely receive a lot of votes from others, include former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, current two division champion Amanda Nunes and legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko. Some might also look at former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo as a candidate for such a list. If picking fighters based on the attention they brought to the sport of MMA, Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey would also be likely inclusions. And of course, most people thinking about the best four fighters ever would be hard-pressed not to consider Silva.