The GOAT Conversation Does Not Matter

Khabib Nurmagomedov
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - OCTOBER 25: Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia celebrates his victory over Justin Gaethje in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 254 event on October 25, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Upon Khabib Nurmagomedov’s supposed retirement, the G.O.A.T. conversation has once again been ignited in the MMA community. Legends of the sport like Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, and Demetrius Johnson have all chimed in on who they think is the greatest to ever do it. However, in the end, the G.O.A.T. conversation does not matter, nor does it really make much sense.

The G.O.A.T. conversation is very much reminiscent of the pound-for-pound fighter rankings. Essentially, the PFP rankings try to encapsulate who is currently, amongst all weight divisions, the best fighter. This unfortunately, is unknowable. Perhaps MMA great, Chael P. Sonnen said it the best when remarking on the matter. In an interview with Ariel Helwani, Sonnen stated, “It is ridiculous…It’s this mythical thought, and the people that sit around and attempt to create a pound-for-pound list are one step away from the same people that sit around and discuss the different possible integers as to why Batman could beat Superman. It is impossible to know. A ridiculous topic.”

Sonnen is right. It is a ridiculous topic. All the PFP and G.O.A.T. conversations provide are opinions, most often very passionate opinions, that really do not matter at all.

It’s exhausting.

The whole concept of the PFP system is more of a popularity contest than anything. The G.O.A.T. topic is fun, until a friendly conversation turns into a heated argument. I, as much as any other MMA fan, enjoy discussing who the G.O.A.T. is, but past a casual conversation is irrelevant. Jones, Cormier, Johnson…their opinions are as good as yours and mine. Our opinions will conflict, and therefore, the argument will continue forever and ever without a clear ‘winner’. This is the issue.

To try to determine who the Ultimate Fighter is (see what I did there) based upon opinion alone is preposterously ridiculous, completely irrational, and supremely exhausting.

Let’s talk. Let’s have fun. But let’s not get out of hand.

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