From Superman punches to vicious ground-and-pound, every GOAT candidate has his (or her) go-to tools. Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, and Jon Jones are debated amongst fans as to who reigns supreme. Each one had many aspects to their attack and defense, but of course, each fan will have their own that stands out to them.
MMA GOATS and What Sets Them Apart
Georges St-Pierre: Jab
Arguably the greatest welterweight fighter in the history of the UFC, Georges St-Pierre (GSP) is well-renowned for his striking skills – and specifically, his jab. This Swiss army knife of a punch has been used by St-Pierre as a rangefinder, a damage dealer, and even repeatedly as a knockout tool. GSP’s jab was a key component in his striking game, paving the way to two separate UFC championship reigns.
“The jab is not about power, it’s about timing. It’s a way to deal damage, measure distance, and most importantly, keep your opponent in check” – GSP
This masterclass dismantling of Josh Koscheck’s face should be all the proof you need on how the jab was front and center for GSP throughout his career. He used it as the setup for combinations, takedowns, as a defense against dangerous opponents, and then sometimes, as with Koscheck, as a lethal strike. With smaller, lighter gloves compared with the later good-quality boxing gloves, the jab was a ferocious part of his all-around game plan.
Anderson Silva: Wing Chun
The Brazilian MMA legend Anderson Silva is another multifaceted fighter who used his jab with devastating effectiveness during his tenure as the UFC Middleweight Champion. Of course not known specifically for his jab, analysis of his fights will show he used the jab to complement a litany of attacks. What can be appreciated most about watching Anderson Silva’s GOAT career, is how unorthodox he is in the Octagon.
Having trained in Wing Chun kung fu for many years, he can disorient, and confuse his opponents. Not only does it leave them guessing on how he will defend or attack, but it creates openings that were hard to read.
Jon Jones: Ranged Elbows
Jon Jones is the longest reigning Light-Heavyweight Champion in UFC history, and is no stranger to success. Jones is known for his variety of striking techniques, and his use of the oblique kick to maintain distance remains unmatched. However, another important element of his success, one he used with precision, often opening-up his opponents, was a vicious ranged elbow. Without having to even set it up with a jab or feint, he could throw a lead elbow timed perfectly, landing with power and speed. Jon Jones fights were always ferocious, and the ranged elbow was just one devastating aspect to his arsenal.
These MMA fighters have demonstrated they are more than one-trick ponies — if they were, they would have been figured out early in their careers. But each certainly had a few weapons they leaned on situationally that set them apart from their peers, leaving each as a legit MMA GOAT.