In the weeks after December 29’s UFC 232, talk around MMA has understandably been centered on light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. “Bones” finished rival Alexander Gustafsson with ease in the main event. He regained his title, and even regained the status of MMA’s greatest of all-time in the eyes of many. Now it’s time Joe Rogan unveils his pick for that illustrious title.
Speaking on a recent episode of his “Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show” (quotes via BJPenn.com), the popular UFC commentator weighed in on the ongoing debate for the GOAT. Some believe it’s Georges St-Pierre, others
To him, it was a shame that longtime former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson never became a superstar. Rogan cited Johnson’s jaw-dropping suplex-to-armbar sequence in what turned out to be his last UFC title defense:
“Here’s what’s disappointing to me, that for whatever reason, Mighty Mouse never became a giant superstar.
Based on those type of performances, it’s tough to argue with Rogan regarding that point. ‘Mighty Mouse’ never resonated with pay-per-view audiences, however, putting him at odds with the UFC. After he lost the title to Henry Cejudo, they decided to “trade” him to ONE Championship late last year.
More of the focus is now on Jones due to his more recent win and position as a UFC champion. Jones will always be discussed as one of the greatest. He would almost certainly be just that if not for his several outside-the-cage troubles. Or perhaps not, according to Rogan, who said no one except Jones comes close to Johnson’s impressive physical abilities:
“[Johnson is] the best ever. He’s the best, physically, ever. The only thing that keeps him from being thought of as universally the greatest of all-time is Jon Jones.”
Yet while “Mighty Mouse” might hold a small edge over Jones in some aspects, Rogan admitted it was “Bones” who beat the better competition. Much of that came during his dominant early run as a champion when the UFC 205-pound division was much more stacked:
“Jon Jones has been able to beat better guys. Jon Jones fights a better caliber of competition because the 205-pound weight class, at least at one point in time, had a deeper talent pool.”
One of the biggest knocks on Johnson’s otherwise historic body of work is that he didn’t face any truly elite fighters as 125-pound champion. Jones has victories over Daniel Cormier, Gustafsson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Quinton Jackson, and Glover Teixeira, among others. Put in that context, Jones’ body of work certainly is better than that of Johnson.
Of course, St-Pierre and Silva also have their pros and cons in the discussion as well. You would have to think if Jones can keep his proverbial nose clean and rack up more title defense in the Octagon, the title will soon be his.
As we’ve seen repeatedly, that’s anything but a given, however. Johnson could also spark a revolution in building ONE Championship to a true competitor with the UFC. It’s a tough task but would bolster his case. This one will come down to the wire – until the next potential GOAT arrives.