Former UFC flyweight champ and current ONE Championship star Demetrious Johnson has shared his thoughts on the GOAT debate in MMA.
Johnson, who is widely regarded as one of the best fighters in MMA history himself, explained that he places a lot of value on longevity when making his picks for the sport’s greatest fighters.
For that reason, he leans towards the likes of former UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones and reigning Bellator middleweight champ Gegard Mousasi. He also acknowledged that unbeaten fighters like UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya will likely be on his list in the future if they continue to win.
“Jon Jones has gotta be number for me,” Johnson told MMA Junkie (via APMMA.net). “His title reign, I’ve seen him train before, how he’s beaten so many great light heavyweights before. And then after that it starts to get cloudy, I’m not gonna lie. I think there are athletes that are on their way, like if Khabib would keep on fighting and do five or six or seven or eight more fights, then I’ll definitely throw him in.
“For me, I like to see longevity,” Johnson added. “I like to see dominance. Longevity is a big thing. When you look at Jon Jones, I think he’s 15 world title fights? That’s a lot of work of staying motivated, staying on top to keep on winning. I think Izzy is on his way. If he goes up to light heavyweight and beats the champion there, and he goes up to fight Jon Jones, he’s definitely on his way.
“Is it a popularity contest? What exactly puts you in that discussion of greatest of all time? For me, it’s longevity, how many championships have you done, a little bit of everything,” Johnson concluded. “For me, that’s why I put Gegard in there [too] because when I watch him, I’m like, look at his hands, look at his grappling, look at his submissions. He can do it all.
“Jon Jones, look at his grappling, look at his hands, look at his submissions, look at how long he’s been a champion.”
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