The legendary Anderson Silva has conceded the title of ‘greatest of all-time’ in his own eyes to one modern UFC champion and to be honest, it’s hard to argue with him.
To those who have only been introduced to MMA with the recent rise of the likes of Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor, it’s hard to break down exactly why the former-middleweight champion Anderson Silva was so dominant in his prime.
I mean sure, seeing his KO of Vitor Belfort or his annihilation of Forrest Griffin on a highlight reel can be enough to convince you of his immense talent, but unless you were present during his rise and eventual decline, it’s a lot more difficult to put into perspective how much of an aura he had about him before he was dismantled by Chris Weidman at UFC 162.
His striking was, of course, at the forefront of his successes but going further than that, it was his creativity, fearless and all-round audacity that set him apart from all others.
So when Anderson Silva was asked in the recent interview who exactly he thought was the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time, he would have been forgiven had he cited himself as the very best to ever do it, but surprisingly, a modern champion at the peak of his powers got the nod from the Brazilian.
Speaking to TMZ Sports, Silva conceded the number-1 spot in a very respectful fashion when asked for his opinion.
“Demetrious Johnson is the new champion. He’s the best one. I have my passion about my sport and I love when people are talking about this, because Demetrious, people need to respect because he’s a great fighter.
“I think Demetrious [is the G.O.A.T].”
Earlier this year, Johnson became the first fighter to defend a UFC title on eleven occasions, submitting Ray Borg in the fifth round of their UFC 215 outing. In doing so, he surpassed the previous record of ten defences – which was held by Silva – and established himself as the world’s pound-for-pound number 1 fighter beyond any doubt.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena