ROUNDTABLE: Is Demetrius Johnson the greatest UFC fighter of all-time? Why or why not?

BY MMATorch Staff

Demetrious Johnson (photo credit Jayne Kamin-Oncea © USA Today Sports)

Is Demetrius Johnson the greatest UFC fighter of all-time? Why or why not?

JOHN HARRIS, MMATorch Contributor

I say no. He is definitely top 4 or 5 but I cannot put him #1. I still put him behind Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre and even Jon Jones. The reason being is because the lack of competition in his division. I just do not think that he was facing as tough of competition as those three men faced during their respective runs. The 125 lbs. division was built around Johnson and did not have the longevity as the other divisions that all-time greats competed in. I would like to see Johnson get really tested by a rival on his level and see how he does in a competitive fight in the championship rounds. Until that happens I cannot rank him #1.

COLE HENRY, MMATorch Contributor

The short answer is no. I have very little faith in the flyweight division; I think it’s the worst men’s division by far. DJ is certainly in the discussion, but I do not believe that his level of competition has been as high as a guy like Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, or Georges St. Pierre. He has beaten all comers convincingly, and has been in some fantastic fights, and I guess this decision has more to do with his division than with him, but it is what it is.

RICK MONSEY, MMATorch Contributor

To be the best, you’ve got to defeat the best.  While Demetrius Johnson has fought some stiff competition he was expected to win against all of them.  Sure there was a little speculation but not much.  Once Johnson starts beating guys like TJ Dillashaw, Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt we can start calling him the best.  Until then Johnson is a great champion in a shallow division.

FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Columnist

I’m still a Fedor guy, but there’s no doubt that Johnson is up there. When you think of the Greatest of All-Time, you think of Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva, Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones, and Demetrious Johnson and Jose Aldo. Those are the six names you think of. Or, at least, you did. The only “Greatest of” list Jones belongs on now is the Greatest Screw-up of All-Time, and he’s far and away the choice there. Now, some may have some different names on their lists, but these are generally considered among the best.

So take Jones off and you’re down to five names. Johnson just beat the consecutive title defenses record previously held by Silva, which is also better than any streak GSP has. So, you have Fedor, Aldo, and DJ. Aldo has shown vulnerability in his last few fights, getting smoked by Conor McGregor before beating Frankie Edgar by decision then getting stopped by Max Holloway. Aldo had won eighteen fights in a row and made nine straight title defenses. That puts him up there with Johnson. I think they’re both below Fedor, but I am biased in that regard as I became a MMA fan by watching Fedor (among many others, of course). However, I think those are the top three fighters of all-time, Fedor, Johnson, and Aldo. You can put them in a different order, but I think those are the three names.

So, to answer the question, no, I don’t think Johnson is the best of all-time. I have to place a big “yet” on there, though. He’s still going. He very well could end up being the Greatest of All-Time when his career is over. He’s not there yet, though, not for me.

ZACK HEYDORN, MMATorch Contributor

Because of who DJ has fought in his career, I don’t believe he is the greatest UFC fighter of all time. I think he has the skills and championship acumen to be the greatest but in the division that he’s in; there just isn’t enough legendary competition for him to be the greatest ever.

NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS ROUNDTABLE: Do you agree or disagree with the UFC’s decision to remove Mark Hunt from the UFC: Sydney card?


1 Comment on ROUNDTABLE: Is Demetrius Johnson the greatest UFC fighter of all-time? Why or why not?

  1. I must disagree with considering any MMA fighter who failed a PED test. Any kudos in the way of a GOAT ranking must be given an * asterisk condition, as they are proven cheaters.
    Arguments will abound with people stating that “beating the tests was far easier in the past”, and “everyone was juicing”. Declaring these types of conjecture is just groundless, and hopeful wishing for a favoured fighter.
    There very likely are fighters who “beat the tests”, but if we can only offer speculation, rumour, and speak in allegations and conjecture regarding this topic, then it has nothing in factual evidence to support itself.
    If a fighter has failed a sanctioned PED test, they should not be included in the same category as those who have never failed a test.

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