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The Debate: Who is the Greatest MMA Fighter of All Time?

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Setting up his eventual rear-naked choke with a left hook landing flush on the man who had used that same punch to win the title, Georges St-Pierre defied the odds at UFC 217 by returning from a four-year hiatus and claiming the UFC’s middleweight championship at Michael Bisping’s expense.

With GSP’s stunning return suitably confirmed as one of mixed martial arts’ greatest comeback stories, the immediate aftermath of St-Pierre’s third-round submission was to proclaim the Canadian superstar as the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T).

But is he?

With the question hanging in the air, five of MMALatestNews’ writers have taken the task of debating and making the case for the fighter they feel is the one true G.O.A.T:

The case for Demetrious Johnson, by Graeme Harper (@GraemeHarp)

The debate surrounding the greatest of all time is always a contentious one in any sport. Whether it be advancements in technology, a change in rules or just too large a period of time to make a sound judgement, picking the very best to do the damn thing is always a tough one to make.

Fortunately, in MMA, that decision isn’t that hard to make. The G.O.A.T in all actuality is a ‘Mighty Mouse’.

Since the sport’s inception in 1993, no fighter has ever been as adept in each and every aspect of what it means to be a martial artist or as innovative as the UFC’s current and only flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. Stringing takedowns to seamless passes on the ground; moving from a linear striking range to new angles within milliseconds and then everything in between, including suplexes into armbars, ‘Mighty Mouse’ has dominated all before him at 125 lbs.

Take one of Johnson’s latest performance against Wilson Reis for example. Facing off against a Roger Godoi black belt, Johnson beat the Brazilian from pillar to post on the feet before handing Reis his first submission loss on the ground. The near 15 minutes of action in which Johnson outlanded his opponent 108 to 16 in strikes was as close to perfection as you’ll ever see in within MMA and exemplified everything that Johnson has developed into over his 30 fight professional career.

From starting out as a criminally undersized bantamweight, Johnson suffered both of the only losses in his career at the 135 lbs limit yet still managed to beat the likes of former pound-for-pound greats ‘Kid’ Yamamoto and Miguel Torres. With the UFC’s introduction of the flyweight division, however, Johnson was afforded the opportunity to fight in a weight class more befitting of his stature and with it began to truly shine.

Since running the gauntlet of the promotion’s champion crowning tournament, Johnson has since broken the UFC’s record for successful title defences with 11, overtaking Anderson Silva this past October. A faster pace, more technically proficient fighters and more well-rounded fighters are just some of the aspects that have been tougher for Johnson to overcome than the likes of Silva, yet the leader of ‘The Mighty Squad’ has come through his tests with flying colours. While others in the discussion for greatest of all time have had their weaknesses and flaws, both inside the cage and out, have been highlighted to an alarming degree at some stage in their career, Johnson remains unscathed.

The simple fact surrounding Demtrious Johnson is that no other fighter has ever made the art of fighting look as effortless while dominating his competition wherever the fight has gone. Whether it be in the clinch against an Olympic wrestler or champion Sambo player, striking against an elite karateka or on the mat against a deadly black belt, Demetrious Johnson has beaten them all without giving them a sniff of victory. Simply put, Demetrious Johnson is the greatest of all time.

The case for Georges St-Pierre, by Jaewon Paik (@JaewonPaikMMA)

Georges St-Pierre’s return was as good as any return in the history of MMA, as he came back and won the fight, shut Michael Bisping up once and for all, and walked away as the UFC Middleweight Champion. It could not have gone any better for GSP, and with this win, a major question was brought up for all the MMA fans to discuss; Is GSP officially the greatest of all time?

Well, it’s quite simple. To those who say otherwise, I ask this question to them; What else does a man have to do to become the greatest of all time? Let’s run down the long list of why GSP is the greatest of all time.

First and the most obvious, GSP now has the most title fight wins, with the glorious win over Bisping that allowed him to surpass Anderson Silva and Demetrious Johnson on the list. An incredible feat of 12 total wins in title bouts already gives him more reasons than the rest of the fighters in the conversation. And ironically with UFC 217’s win, St-Pierre also officially tied the record for most wins in UFC history at 20, with the man he took the title from, Michael Bisping. He also now has the longest active winning streak in the UFC, one more than Demetrious Johnson and two more than Max Holloway.

Let’s move onto the fact that he is officially a two-weight world champion now, one of only four men in the history to accomplish this feat, along with Randy Couture, B.J. Penn, and Conor McGregor.

However, what makes this feat more impressive for St-Pierre than the other three men who have accomplished it, is the fact that GSP won the middleweight championship after a four-year layoff. And believe it or not, he arguably looked better than his prime. Not many can say they’ve looked just as good after such a long layoff, and the only fighter who comes to mind in the UFC is Chan-Sung Jung, when he returned after nearly 4 years off and knocked out Dennis Bermudez in the first round. And not only did GSP come back from a long layoff to win, he stepped up a division to take the title away, which is as admirable as an achievement can be.

Not only that, but GSP also holds other various records for the UFC, such as the most title bout fight time, 3rd most time spent in the octagon, tied for most PPV main events. Also, he is the owner of most unanimous decision wins in the history of the UFC. While some may criticize such stats for his lack of ability to be able to finish his opponents, it also shows his dominance in most of his fights, completely outclassing his opponents from start to finish. He also owns the second highest win percentage after Tony Ferguson, at 90.90%.

Besides that, there are tons of in-fight statistics that he is involved in, but I won’t get into that, as that would take far too long. But is there really a question after UFC 217 to GSP being the greatest fighter ever? Tons of respect to Anderson Silva, Demetrious Johnson, and Conor McGregor, (maybe Jon Jones?) but when all is set and done, Georges St-Pierre is hard to deny. The fact that he is extremely respectable and likeable helps his case as well, as he has always been admired by all the fighters and there aren’t many who can say they’ve earned the respect of all fellow fighters. Personally, I believe this is a crown that GSP officially holds now, and it would be extremely tough for anyone to take it away from him, even for someone like Mighty Mouse.

The case for Conor McGregor, by Sam Jobling (@SamJoblingg)

This may upset a few MMA purists, but I’m making the case for “The Notorious” Conor McGregor as the greatest of all time.

In November 2016, Conor McGregor cemented his legacy as an all-time great by becoming the first simultaneous two-weight world champion holding both the Featherweight and Lightweight belts. He became the third fighter ever to hold two belts, joining B.J. Penn and Randy Couture.

In that same year, McGregor fought in December (UFC 194), March (UFC 196), August (UFC 202) and November (UFC 205). In that 11 month span, McGregor fought in three different weight classes and won in every single one.

McGregor has the third highest win percentage of any fighter with at least 10 UFC bouts. With a percentage of 90%.

McGregor also holds the record for the fastest title fight win, knocking out Jose Aldo in 13 seconds at UFC 194.

McGregor’s style is poetry in motion. His movement, his striking, his accuracy, his power and his versatility are world-class. He is the most exciting fighter in the UFC by a mile.

It’s a testament to Conor’s ferocious power that after you fight him your chin may never be the same. Look at the way Aldo lost to Holloway and look at the way Mendes lost to Edgar in his last fight.

McGregor has bullied and decisively beaten some world-class competitors like Aldo, Holloway and Alvarez. He also holds wins over other quality fighters like Poirier, Diaz and Mendes.

McGregor is the most popular fighter in the world and every time he steps into the cage he has the most to lose, but it never stops him from taking risks. Whether it’s moving up in weight, fighting Diaz at 170lb’s in the rematch or fighting in boxing. Unlike some fighters considered the G.O.A.T, remember when Johnson wouldn’t fight Dillashaw and where was Jones moving up to heavyweight which has long been spoken about.

Does your status as the G.O.A.T rest solely on performances and records inside the cage? I’d argue not.

McGregor has changed the sport in ways fighters before him never could. He has brought the sport to the mainstream and brought the UFC forward to the point where it is worth over $4 billion. The company would never be worth that much if it wasn’t for McGregor’s popularity and the revenue he brings in.

McGregor is a revenue machine for the UFC. To put it into perspective the gate for GSP’s return at Madison Square Garden was $6,200,000 whereas Conor’s historic UFC 205 card pulled in $17,700,000 in ticket sales.

If that wasn’t enough McGregor also has 4 out of the 5 most bought PPV’s. With his 3 most recent UFC fights being number 1, 2 and 3.

And this is before we mention that McGregor went 10 rounds with arguably the greatest boxer of all time. Which other MMA fighter is so good they can bring the worlds best boxer out of retirement? Let alone hang 10 rounds with him.

The records, the numbers, the titles, the wins, the style, the risks and doing what no MMA fighter has ever done all point to the ‘The Notorious One’ being the best to ever do it.

If McGregor isn’t the greatest then why is everyone else trying to be like him?

The case for BJ Penn, by Josh Murray (@JoshuaMurrayMMA)

BJ Penn just has to be mentioned in this debate, why we’re debating I don’t know because it’s clear that BJ is the best fighter to ever become a champion of the UFC.

When BJ claimed his first title he didn’t do it the easy way, he never went for the easy option in his 30 UFC fights he loved to push himself and fought some of the best UFC fighters to ever step into an octagon such as GSP, Joe Stevenson and Matt Hughes.

He claimed his first title against Matt Hughes at UFC 46 by rear naked choke, which was absolutely amazing for ‘The Prodigy’ because at the time Matt Hughes was a dominant force in the UFC and tore apart anyone put in against him apart from Penn.

At UFC 46 he fought Matt fully focused and composed and landed Hughes on his back after Hughes tried to clinch with BJ after eating a few shots and on his back is where the fight remained for Hughes until he gave up his back on the ground to BJ who instantly reacted by mounting the back landing a few big shots and as soon as Matt’s neck was exposed he locked in a rear naked choke and finished him in the first round to win his first UFC title!

He didn’t stop there he went on to fight in some great fights against great opponents, this is what makes BJ the greatest champion because he always wanted to fight the best fighter out there, he was always looking for a fight to go out and prove he is the greatest he even went to over to K1 in Asia, early in his UFC career, to challenge him self against new fighters and he went 2-1 in the sport

BJ was also one of those fighters who you just have to watch because of how exciting his fights could be which obviously brought a lot of viewers to watch him

BJ also created some memorable moments in the octagon like licking the blood of his gloves after he won the fight against Joe Stevenson (I know crazy!) his speedy knockout of Caol Uno in 11 seconds faster than McGregor’s 13 second knockout of Jose Aldo and let’s not forget his rivalry with Matt Hughes which penn ended with a 21 second knockout in their trilogy fight.

So there we have it why I think BJ is the best champ in history he has been unlucky in his defeats but most of them coming from some dangerous fighters of the sport but despite the losses he topped his long UFC career off by being inducted Into the UFC hall of Fame in 2015 an achievement only a few fighter can say they have earned BJ is the best Champ see no debate about it

The case for Jon Jones, by Dan Keeffe (@DanTheMexiKhan)

Jon “Bones” Jones is the Greatest Fighter of All Time. Not a debate but the reality of the situation.

Allow me to break it down for you.

  • Despite conduct outside the cage, Jon “Bones” Jones has been nothing but a sheer freak of nature, every time he fights. At a tender age of 23, he demolished Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to become the youngest champion in UFC history. He picked apart Pride veterans like Rampage Jackson, and made an example of fighters like Rashad Evans, Ryan Bader & Lyoto Machida.
  • Jones’ adversary Daniel Cormier could have been the P4P GOAT. He ruled heavyweight & light heavyweight. Everyone he fought looked like they had no business being in the octagon. Jones beat him, twice.

His “negligent of the rules” lifestyle makes his accomplishments in the cage even more spectacular.

  • All high-level champions share a common truth, they have an extremely rigid lifestyle. The idea that a fighter with a flippant nature towards diet & training like Jon can somehow become a champion, is purely ludicrous. Yet look at what Jones accomplished.

With the exception of DC, Jon’s opponents either pre or post-USADA have also popped. Jones beat DC after popping for cocaine that he ingested 2/3 weeks prior to the fight. He did not pop for PEDs when he first defeated Cormier, a second infraction is still debatable.

His only loss was a DQ for 12-6 elbows (a ridiculous rule) and his opponent, Matt Hamill thought Jones won and doesn’t recognize it as a legitimate win.

  •  If you are saying, “Who is the Greatest” you are saying:
  • Who has, and, or could beat up the rest?
  • Who had the most impact on the sport?
  • Who is a pure undeniable talent from a such a young age in which the ceiling of their ability is a mystery?
  • Who elevated the game and competition?
  • Who is still capable of destroying anyone who enters the cage?

The answer isn’t Silva, who had his fights in a young UFC where the talent was still emerging and not solidified yet. Or GSP, who arguably lost to both Condit & Hendricks, and it’s not DJ, despite how amazing he is.

The answer is Jon “Bones” Jones. It’s not an argument or an opinion, it’s a statement of fact and denying it is skewing what facts are and choosing which facts matter simply to suit your personal stake in the conversation or to protect your feelings or opinion. This does not change the reality.

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UFC looks for undefeated fighters for the next season of TUF

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As the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter comes to a close in a few weeks, UFC has set tryouts for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter on December 12th but there is a catch, participates must hold an undefeated record.

Titled The Ultimate Fighter 27: Battle of the Undefeated, the next installment of TUF will be looking for male fighters with an undefeated record with a minimum of 3-0 to apply for the show. The casting call asks for featherweights and welterweights but in the early stages of tryouts, a weight class will be decided later in the process.

Fighters must be aged between 21 – 34 and will grapple and light spar in front of UFC matchmakers and must be prepared to stay in Vegas until December 16th.

It is unknown what the future of TUF will be after the TV deal with FOX ends next year but the show has been a success for the company and many fighters to emerge from The Ultimate Fighter have become champion including current interim Lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas coming from past seasons of the show.

This will be the third time in a row that a gimmick will be added to the show that has been on the decline in the ratings in recent years but yet to use only undefeated fighters. An undefeated streak can be one of the most prestigious records to keep in mixed martial arts with the wins and losses being so vital in a fighters career.

Who will keep their zero? Who will be the next Ultimate Fighter? Who will be the coaches?

These questions will be answered when the new season of TUF begins shooting in January and the show premiering later in the year.

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Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”

Harry Davies

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MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.

Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.


Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?

I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.

Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?

I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened.  They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.

Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of  Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?

I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.

It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.

Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?

I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.

I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.

Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!

 

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IMMAF

2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures

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After 4 days of non stop action from Monday to Thursday we have our final 14 bouts to determine the 2017 IMMAF World Champions. Most of these fighters have fought four times for their slot  in the final and tomorrow will be their chance to finish off what has been a fantastic week of fights.

Kicking off the action tomorrow will be Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan. Both women have looked extremely impressive in their bouts so far, Oliveira has spent less time in the cage than her opponent after finishing two of her fights. Neilan is the Irish teams last chance of a gold in this competition and comes into this after a war of a last fight. She is constantly pressuring and has solid striking with incredible ground and pound from any position on top.

Joel Aronlainen came down to featherweight after testing the water at lightweight in the European Championships. His lanky build and impressive overall skill set has seen him pick up 3 finishes in the competition so far. His opponent Delyan Georgiev is undefeated and will be a tough challenge for him. Georgiev has dominated the featherweight division at amateur, his gold medal at the European Championships could now lead to him becoming a world champion if he continues to perform like we’re used to seeing him do.

At 155lbs, Vitali Andruhovich will take on top American prospect Quintin Thomas for the gold. Andruhovich has been on the right side of two very close split decisions in this tournament so far. His controversial win over Irishman Ciaran Clarke had many people scratching their heads at the decision. He now has the chance to prove himself with a win against Quintin Thomas. Thomas is the UMMAF National Champion and a very experienced amateur fighter. Racking up 13 wins he has been a dominant fighter in most of his fights, his sole losses coming from sustaining an injury and a split decision loss.

For the Middleweight medal we have a battle of the Nordic fighters. Iceland’s Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson has looked phenomenal in his fights so far, finishing each and everyone inside a round. The Mjolnir fighter has been to many the highlight of the tournament, but has a tough task a head of him in Laallam who’s had half the number of fights in this tournament and looked impressive in both.

Bahrain’s last hope for a medal lies in the hand of Light Heavyweight finisher Murtaza Talha Ali. Ali has finished all four of his bouts so far, 3 via TKO/KO and his last being by way of submission. Standing in his way of gold will be Pavel Pahomenko from Belarus who’s proven to be lethal with submissions once an opportunity arises scoring two submission wins inside the first round.

Here is the full fixture list for the finals tomorrow:

  • Michele Oliveira  vs.  Danni Neilan 125 lbs
  • Anna Astvik  vs.  Hannah Dawson 115 lbs
  • Chamia Chabbi  vs.  Manon Fiorot 135 lbs
  • C. McCrudden  vs.  Fabiana Giampà 145 lbs
  • Gase Sanita  vs.  Kaycee Blake 155 lbs
  • Yernaz Mussabek  vs.  Serdar Atlas 125 lbs
  • Gamzat Magomedov  vs.  O. Moldagaliyev 135 lbs
  • Joel Arolainen  vs.  Delyan Georgiev 145 lbs
  • V. Andruhovich  vs.  Quitin Thomas 155 lbs
  • Sola Axel  vs.  Benjamin Bennett 170 lbs
  • B. Haraldsson  vs.  Khaled Laallam 185 lbs
  • Pavel Pahomenko  vs.  Murtaza Talha Ali 205 lbs
  • Irman Smajic  vs.  Lev Vins 265 lbs
  • Atanas Krastanov  vs.  Marcin Kalata 300 lbs
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