Is Demeterious Johnson the G.O.A.T.?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Demetrious Johnson tying Anderson Silva’s record for title defenses at UFC on FOX 24 Saturday night. A white belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Mighty Mouse tapped Wilson Reis for the first time.

There followed a stream of goat Emojis on the social network. Immediately after the fight, Johnson made a case.

“GSP and Anderson, they’re great champions,” he began. “But I’m the best champion to ever step into this Octagon. I’m finishing my opponents. There’s not another champion who can mix it up – wrestle, strike, clinch.”

And Johnson isn’t even slightly cocky.

In a post-fight interview with Megan Olivi, Dana White related that he just overheard a conversation between the fighter and his coach Matt Hume, in which Johnson was asking what he did wrong.

“I stopped and said, ‘Hey, coach, let me answer this for you – nothing,’” said White as transcribed Steven Marrocco and Ken Hathaway for MMAjunkie.

“He’s already the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, and he strives to be better each time, and he gets better each time, literally destroying people. Yeah, this kid could be considered the G.O.A.T. right now, or to give Anderson Silva the true respect, you wait until he actually breaks the record. It’s hard to not call this guy the greatest of all time.”

Johnson’s greatness has a problem – who’s left to fight? The #1 contender is Joseph Benavidez, on a six-fight win streak. But Johnson already beat him, twice. An obvious step is a superfight, perhaps with bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt. Mighty Mouse wants millions to move up, but White suggested he stay in the division a while longer, and set a defense record that will never be broken.

“When you run through guys as long as these two have run through guys, yeah, [it’s hard to find opponents],” acknowledged White. “But I promise you, we’ll find somebody.”