Last night, in the co-main event of UFC 216, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson shattered the record for consecutive title defenses in the UFC, moving to eleven-straight with a jaw-dropping fifth-round armbar over Ray Borg. In the wake of this dazzling win, Johnson is once again being widely referred to as the greatest of all time.
At the UFC 216 post-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White gave his take on the GOAT debate.
“You guys know what a crazy jiu-jitsu guy Joe Rogan is — Rogan was up in the ring, he goes, ‘I’ve never even seen that in a jiu-jitsu match,’” White said (h/t MMAFighting.com). “He goes, ‘It’s crazy, this guy’s a freak.’ And it’s true. Demetrious is the best, man. He broke Anderson Silva’s record and did it in spectacular fashion. And I feel like I disrespected Ray Borg a little bit with the whole T.J. Dillashaw (thing). That kid came to fight. He came to fight, he didn’t want to tap to that armbar. I don’t know if you guys talked to him yet, his arm can’t be feeling too good, but (he’s) a stud and I meant no disrespect.”
“Definitely,” White added when asked if Johnson is the best ever. “He’s the man. He broke Anderson Silva’s record, and it almost seems like in that last round he knew he was going to do it and he knew how he was going to do it. It was pretty impressive. I don’t know if I just said this or not, I’m tired, but (Johnson’s head coach) Matt Hume, we were talking about how awesome it was and he goes, ‘He does it in the gym all the time.’
With his GOAT status becoming more and more unquestionable, White also feels the fans are finally starting to rally behind Demetrious Johnson.
“I felt like tonight, the crowd was chanting his name, and I think people are coming around,” the UFC boss said. “That’s the thing. Sometimes it takes longer for some people. Crazy to think, but people didn’t love Chuck Liddell at one time either. They didn’t hate him; they just didn’t care. And then Chuck became a massive superstar for us. And Anderson Silva … he kicked Vitor (Belfort) in the face and exploded.”
Do you consider Demetrious Johnson the best ever?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/6/2017.