If you looked up the word ‘dominant’, various meaning would come up. The one that stood the most for me is this: “commanding, controlling, or prevailing over all others.”
In the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), we’ve seen multiple fighters in its rich history have sustained runs of dominance.
From the mid-2000s era to the current era, four men embodied that word and took it to another level. Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Recently, after Khabib defeated Justin Gaethje via submission, which pushed his record to 29-0, the UFC named The Russian Eagle as the Pound-for-Pound top rank fighter in the promotion. Surpassing Jones in the process.
Which undoubtedly pissed off Bones, who felt he should’ve stayed at the top.
But that whole thing got me thinking, who is the most dominant champion out of the four?
The answer to that question changes between fans and pundits, but let me lay the facts down and have you guys discussed it.
No 1. – Georges St-Pierre
Let’s start off with the man that gave us a rush in almost all of his fights.
Georges St-Pierre is the greatest welterweight champion of all-time. Well, in my book at least, but could you really argue about that statement?
The Canadian fighter was the undisputed King of the Welterweights from 2007, when he won it from Matt Hughes in UFC 79 up until his controversial win over Johny Hendricks in 2013 during UFC 167.
During his time as the Welterweight champ St-Pierre beat the best the company had to offer.
Jon Fitch, BJ Penn, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, Jake Shields, Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, and Hendricks all weren’t able to handle ‘Rush’ during his title run, and St-Pierre was so dominant the only man who defeated him was himself when he decided to walk away. Matt Serra did briefly take the title away from him during his first title defense, but GSP bounced back by taking the title back in their rematch.
He made his return to the UFC in 2017 to take the middleweight title from Michael Bisping, and then walked away from the sport for good.
St-Pierre has a record of 26-2 in the UFC and with eight coming via knockouts, six via submission and 12 via decisions, he had a total of nine title defenses.
No. 2 – Anderson Silva
For a fan that just started watching MMA recently, they probably see Anderson Silva as that skinny guy who has lost six of his last eight fights.
But for us long-time fans, we all know him as the legendary Spider. The one that enters the matrix in his fights, the one that gave us some of the greatest stoppages of all time, and one that showed us the most amazing comeback win in MMA against Chael Sonnen. In his prime, Silva was the one that dropped everyone’s jaws with his moves and confidence in the octagon.
Anderson “The Spider” Silva is simply amazing.
Silva, who currently have 34-10 win-loss record with one no contest, dominated the second half of the 2000s and the first half of the 2010s.
He has the record for the biggest win streak with 16 consecutive wins and he also has the most KO wins with 11 tied with Matt Brown, Anthony Johnson, Derrick Lewis and Thiago Santos. He’s third for the most finishes win with 14 behind Donald Cerrone and Charles Oliveira who are both tied with 16.
But in terms of title fights he took it to another level.
In his 10 title defenses, Silva defeated multiple Hall of Famers and tough opponents. Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Dan Henderson, Patrick Cole, Thales Leites, Damian Maia, Chael Sonnen (twice), Vitor Belfort, Yushin Okami all got caught in the web of “The Spider”, that is Silva.
Most of the time, he didn’t just take the win. He beats it out of his opponents. You think I was kidding when I said he enters the matrix in his fights? Watch this.
Out of his 10 title defenses, Silva finished eight of those via stoppage with five KO and three via submissions.
Silva is about to have his final professional fight of his career by the end of the month at the UFC Fight Night 181, against Uriah Hall. It will be sad to see him go, but it’s definitely time.
No. 3 – Jon Jones
Let’s now talk about arguably the most controversial fighter of all-time.
Jon “Bones” Jones.
If you put aside the negative things he’s been involved in, Jones has all the rights in the MMA world to proclaim himself as the Greatest of All-Time.
The 33-year-old fighter currently holds a record of 26-1-1. His only loss came via disqualification in a match where he is poised to win, which is VERY QUESTIONABLE. His one No Contest came after he was tested positive with steroids but if you’d take all those controversies out and give him his wins, he actually has a 28-0 record.
There is a solid argument that the only person who could ever beat Jones is himself, considering the many years of his prime that have been taken away due to suspension, drug use and legal problems.
But since we’re not living in a perfect world, let’s just take what we got.
So, why is Jones in this list?
Well, in his 28 fights, 14 wins came in a title fight, which is the most in UFC history.
One thing that separates Jones from the rest is control. He controls the match as if he’s playing a video game, he has the record for the best percentage for takedown defense with 95% and I’m telling you, if you try to exchange shots with Bones, it’ll end horribly for you.
Jones also does something that most fighters really doesn’t do: fight his opponents using their greatest strengths. Hard strikers saw themselves getting knocked out, wrestlers saw themselves ragdolled and thrown to the ground, and submission artists saw themselves tapping.
After winning the title from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in 2011, Jones decided that he’ll clean up the Light Heavyweight division and it didn’t matter if they were a legend, a nobody, or an up and comer.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Alexander Gustafsson, Glover Teixeira, Daniel Cormier, Ovince Saint Preux, Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, Dominick Reyes.
You’re looking at a list of names of some of the greatest fighters in the history of Light Heavyweight division in the UFC history, and they are also names that felt the greatness of Jones.
Him arguing why Khabib is number one is certainly valid but what makes Khabib the pound-for-pound number one?
No. 1 – Khabib Nurmagomedov
The biggest difference that Khabib Nurmagomedov has from the guys on the list other than Jones is that, he was already dominant before becoming the Lightweight Champion.
29-0 for his career, 13-0 in the UFC. Nurmagomedov has been unstoppable throughout his fighting career.
In his 13 wins in the UFC, serious champions and contenders like Rafael Dos Anjos, Michael Johnson, Edson Barboza, Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, to name a few, looked like they didn’t even belong in the cage against the Russian Eagle.
Khabib only had four title fights but out of the four, only one ended in the judge’s scorecard. That fight was the one where he first won the title against Al Iaquinta, but that fight wasn’t even close.
His fights against McGregor, Poirier and Gaethje all ended up with those three men submitting to a choke hold.
Nurmagomedov has certainly left his mark as one of the most dominant fighters in history, but as a champion? He was in a class of his own. There is conceivably no one that could have ever beaten him at lightweight, though some would still argue that he never did get tested against Tony Ferguson.
To see how dominant he was, take a look at how his division opened up as soon as he retired. Now, you could conceivably see that McGregor, Gaethje, Poirier, or Ferguson could find their hands on the strap in the next couple of years. With Nurmagomedov still active, none of those guys would stand a chance at holding the title.
But, like I said earlier I’ll let you guys think about who should be crowned as the most dominant champions.
What do you think? Who is the most dominant champ? GSP? Silva? Jones? Khabib? Do you think Nurmagomedov will make his return? Who do you want to see Jones fight next? Do you think Silva will win his last fight? Sound off below in the comment section.