While appearing on the “The Dave Portnoy Show” during the UFC 270 fight week, the Barstool Sports founder asked the UFC president for his picks.
According to White, the three greatest fighters ever are former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, ex-UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva and former UFC middleweight and welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. White didn’t rank the fighters from first to third, and he also gave a nod to reigning 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman.
“You’d have to go: Anderson Silva, ‘GSP,’ Jones,” White said. “Usman is getting up there too.”
Jones, Silva and St-Pierre are typically mentioned in the GOAT conversation, along with former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and ex-UFC 155-pound champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Every fighter named, with the exception of Usman, is either retired, fighting in another promotion, or has been inactive for years.
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Silva Transitioned to Boxing Last Year
Silva (34-11, 1 NC) competed twice in 2021, but both times were as a boxer. “The Spider” fought his final UFC fight in October 2020, parting with the promotion a little while later. He ended his tenure with the promotion on a three-fight skid and was 1-7 with one no-contest in his last nine fights.
The Spider has had somewhat of a combat sports career resurgence, however, as he defeated former boxing world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. inside the boxing ring via split decision. A few months later, in September 2021, Silva earned his second consecutive boxing win when he knocked out former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz in the first round of their contest.
At 46 years old, Silva will likely head back into the ring in 2022.
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St-Pierre Is Retired From MMA, Expressed Interest in Boxing Oscar De La Hoya
St-Pierre (26-2) has only fought once since his final 170-pound title defense in 2013. He returned to the Octagon in 2017 and won the middleweight belt from Michael Bisping at UFC 217, becoming one of only a few two-division UFC champions.
He vacated the 185-pound belt around a month later due to suffering from ulcerative colitis, and he officially announced his retirement from MMA in 2019. “GSP” teased the idea of returning to fight Nurmagomedov, but the possibility of the fight was derailed after “The Eagle” retired in 2020.
St-Pierre has also shown interest in boxing Oscar De La Hoya. However, St-Pierre is still under contract with the UFC and hasn’t received permission from White to box “The Golden Boy.”
Jones Hasn’t Fought Since February 2020, Watching This Weekend’s Fight Closely
Jones (26-1, 1 NC) last fought in February 2020 when he defended his 205-pound strap against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247. “Bones” vacated the belt in August 2020 and announced his move to heavyweight, something he’s been preparing for since then.
On January 22, 2022, heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and interim champion Ciryl Gane will clash in the main event of UFC 270, and Jones will be watching closely. It’s assumed that should Jones decide to return to action, he’ll receive an instant-title fight against the winner of Ngannou and Gane.
A fan recently asked Jones for his prediction, and Bones replied via Twitter: “Really have no clue who’s going to win, I’m just excited to watch the fight. Going to learn so much about the both of them no matter how it goes down.”