||05-13-2008 07:06 PM
In terms of wins, Liddell is fairly high up there. But if you start looking at circumstances, he doesn't impress me as much as others - his big winning streak was mostly over guys who were either mediocre, past their prime, or just didn't have any stand-up skill. The division lacked some depth back then, the only real options were Liddell, Ortiz, or Randy.
Speaking of Randy... he's done something that nobody else has done, taking the title twice in two weight divisions, and doing it at an age where few others have even been able to fight. But to detract from that, his wins were over people who stylistically matched up to him very well - just like Liddell.
Frankie did some outstanding things, wasn't he undefeated in the UFC? Yet he didn't really give it a good run, he skipped out pretty early. I think that kept him from earning the record that some of the other fighters have. He did beat the best that the UFC had at the time, but still - only five fights, then he bailed for other orgs. I'm torn about wishing he could come back to the UFC again - part of me would love to see him fight some top competition, but another part of me would just as soon see him keep his record, and not get eaten alive by Mr. Silva.
Now Anderson Silva might have a shot, we'll have to see. I think he would be in the running because he's taken folks who were good ground fighters, good stand-up fighters, and folks who were decent at both. His ability to take on anyone could prove the deciding factor, but we still have at least a few years left before we'll be able to look back and see.
GSP? Well, he's got a chance. Obviously, the loss to Hughes and the loss to Serra throw a cloud over it, but his wins over Karo, Hughes, Penn, Kos, Trigg, and Serra are in his favor. It will be interesting, as the years go by, to see how he and Silva compare.
But... if I had to pick of this moment who has been the best, the future doesn't count. Who would I pick? I would personally pick Matt Hughes. GSP obviously has his number, but other than that, he's been 20-1 over 7 years - and the loss to Penn was avenged in very good fashion. And not only has he beaten the up-and-comers, but folks like Penn, St. Pierre (once), Babalu, Sherk, Trigg, Riggs, Gracie, Newton, Lytle - a wide variety of people and styles. It's not just a matter of "I can beat a certain style of fighter", but of "I can beat any fighter" that really impresses me.