Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva thinks that former two-division champion BJ Penn should be in the conversation when discussing who is the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
Silva is considered to be on the Mount Rushmore of the UFC GOATs, including Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, and Daniel Cormier. Despite his disappointing end to his UFC career in losing five of his last six bouts, he transitioned to boxing and won his most recent boxing match against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last month by decision.
Penn had a similar fallout with the UFC, losing his final seven fights in the promotion including a unanimous decision defeat to Clay Guida at UFC 237. Silva thinks fans shouldn’t worry about how Penn’s career ended, but rather to remember the highlights of his combat sports tenure.
“Well, there are lots of different fighters I respect,” Silva said in an interview with GiveMeSport. “But if we’re talking about the best, I would say BJ Penn. What the guy did, he’s amazing, what he did for the sport.”
Penn is a major part of the UFC’s rise to prominence during the early-to-mid 2000s, particularly with his success in the lower divisions at lightweight and welterweight. His TKO win over Sean Sherk at UFC 84 is widely regarded as one of the greatest knockouts in the promotion’s illustrious history.
Penn was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame back in 2015 as the inaugural inductee into the hall’s modern-era wing. He is also widely regarded as one of the main pioneers of MMA in Hawaii; where former featherweight champion Max Holloway and others have made their mark on the sport. The 42-year-old’s career came to a close in 2019. Silva’s thoughts on the all-time greatest are always something for fans to pay attention to.
Do you think BJ Penn is one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time? Where do you think he ranks among the best?