Posts Tagged ‘Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’

The Great G.O.A.T. Debate

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

By Matt Larkin

Guest Writer

Any time a superstar in a sport gives a signature performance, it’s common for fans to start up a “Greatest of All Time” or “G.O.A.T.” discussion. MMA is no different from any other sport; after Anderson Silva’s decimation of Yushin Okami last Saturday, people are wondering if it’s safe to call him the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.

It especially helps The Spider’s cause that (a) Fedor Emelianenko has destroyed his legacy over the last year to the point where he’s not even in the running and (b) Despite his continued dominance, Georges St-Pierre has lulled us into forgetting how good he is because of his conservative, uninspired efforts of late.

To me, the interesting part of the G.O.A.T. debate in MMA isn’t whether or not it’s Anderson Silva. To me, there’s no question right now. He holds the record for consecutive UFC wins and title defenses and he has never lost in the Octagon.

The more fascinating hot topic I’ve stumbled upon lately is whether or not MMA is old enough to have a G.O.A.T. Some people believe that, because MMA is so young, it can’t have a greatest of all time yet. People of this mindset believe that we haven’t even scratched the surface of how good mixed martial artists can be, and that the next superstars, physical freaks in the Jon Jones/Rory MacDonald mode, will be far superior to guys like Silva when their careers end.

Personally, I think it’s ludicrous to say that a G.O.A.T. can’t exist. It’s implied that the greatest of all time is always the greatest of all time so far. Even if MMA was one year old, it would still have the right of having a “greatest.” Royce Gracie held that honor in the 1990s, and deservedly so. He was an innovator whose Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu changed the sport forever.

Anderson Silva deserves his G.O.A.T status just as much. He, too is a trailblazer because of his amazing grace, evasiveness, accuracy, showmanship and finishing ability. He’s a Muay Thai version of Muhammad Ali.

The best way I can close the debate on whether or not a young sport can have a G.O.A.T: saying that Anderson Silva doesn’t deserve the title yet would be like saying in 80 years ago that Babe Ruth didn’t deserve it in his sport because “baseball was still too young.”