Ten or seven years that is the question.
Ok the usual argument which comes up here is the whole Fedor was undefeated for a decade. Granted for his time, he was a very exciting and dominant fighter but as the sport evolved he avoided the big guns in the latter part of his career and ended up getting defeated when facing higher competition to what he was used too.
The argument of Fedor being the GOAT is going be an annoying one for a while as yes he did go for a decade undefeated but 5 years of that was against sub par competition. Mark hunt was at the worst stage of his career and Mark Coleman was washed up. Tim Sylvia was a joke and Arlovski was past it too. The rest were cans in that period too. The period from 2002-2005 was where he arguably faced his stiffest competition fighting on the Pride circuit. In these 3 years his resume is very impressive as were the bouts themselves putting UFC era fighters to shame with 14 bouts (Zuluzinho was at the end of the year and a walkover).
Recent bouts ended up showing him to be what he is. A fighter who has not evolved with the sport, relying on what has served him best in the past with no hint of a game plan. His latest defeat against Hendo (in my opinion an early stoppage) serving as his last outing in Strikeforce. Sadly retiring after getting himself a bit more cash against a few washed up fighters at the age of 36.
Fedor could of cemented himself a more solid place in this debate if he was not so aligned with M-1 money makers and had moved over to the UFC after the collapse of pride. This could of possibly led to him him having a good run at the heavyweight strap as the UFC heavyweight division was not particularly deep and even if he had lost at heavyweight a run at light heavyweight would of been more interesting against better competition.
Silva has gone nearly 7 years undefeated fighting a mixture of what could be considered cans and elite competition. Defeating an in form Chris Leben on his debut and then an taking the middleweight title from Franklin in his next bout. From there it has been a who's who of the middleweight division and the odd venture up to light heavyweight to do a bit of "mopping up" against bigger fighters.
He has gone 16-0 in the ufc in this time and granted while not having the amount of bouts that Fedor had, the level of competition has been on average higher across this time. Whilst some people may argue that the light heavyweight bouts are not anything to be proud of he did take out Forrest Griffin, who whilst being the most unlikely fighter to hold the light heavyweight belt was and is still a game fighter who has proved difficult to put away and Stephan Bonnar, who had never been TKO'd in the octagon.
Seemingly able to defy the effects of ageing such as loss of cardio, chin failing and slowing down he has penned another 10 fight deal which will surely cement his status as the GOAT over time as well as allowing for the opportunity for tasty bouts against the likes of GSP and Jones as well as any blistering up an comers who appear. He has a habit of winning as and when he wants, making elite competition look sub-par and possessing a skill set which defines the mixed in mma.
So the argument for GOAT, a fighter who was undefeated for 10 years and faced top competition for 3-4 years or a fighter who has gone 7 years of facing top competition, is still flying high in his division and shows no signs of slowing down. Both fighters have faced larger competition and both have dealt with them easily but with the new 10 fight deal and the longer period of seeing off higher level fighters, over the coming years Silva should surely cement his place as the greatest of all time.
Agree? Disagree? Canadian? Leave your thoughts below.