Who is the greatest middleweight in UFC history?

Daniel Cunningham

This past weekend at UFC 253, Israel Adesanya (20-0) put on a show. Facing his toughest test to date in Paulo Costa (13-1), Adesanya put on the performance of his career stopping Costa in the second round. He proved he’s the best middleweight in the world.

Adesanya has become a superstar for the UFC. Whether it be the way he talks, his dancing, or his incredible slick striking skills, Adesanya wows fight fans. However, after Saturday evening, I was seeing a little bit of being a victim of the moment.

There were some members of the MMA media and the UFC Twitter mob that were already declaring Adesanya the greatest middleweight in UFC history. Stylebender is clearly the best in the world now, but I think that people need to pump the breaks just a little.

Yes, Adesanya is perfect at 20-0, but he just defended his UFC title for the second time. Remember, he just became champion in October. He’s not even one year into his title reign, and some are already declaring him the GOAT.

There is no questioning the talent and the skill of Israel Adesanya. He very well might be the greatest middleweight to have ever stepped foot in the UFC. However, declaring him the GOAT at this point is wrong. To me, he’s not even in the conversation with the actual GOAT of the middleweight division yet.

One of the UFC’s Best of All Time

There is only one GOAT at middleweight and his name is Anderson Silva (34-10, 1 NC). Before Adesanya fans immediately try to argue, I will warn you that there is no argument when it comes to their resumes inside the UFC.

Yes, I understand that Silva has really fallen on rough times, but you have to remember, he’s far past his prime. When he was in his prime, Silva dominated the UFC like only Jon Jones has dominated the UFC.

Silva outclassed every opponent on his way to winning his first 16 UFC fights. A winning streak that still hasn’t been matched in the promotions history. Silva won the middleweight crown back at UFC 64 and successfully defended the title 11 times before falling in 2013.

Silva’s unbeaten reign inside the UFC spanned seven years. If he would have retired after he defeated Stephan Bonnar, he would still be considered to be the greatest to ever do it. Of course, things derailed for Silva starting at UFC 162.

Like all great champions, Silva was never the same as he exited his prime. However, it’s still impressive that Silva can compete at his age. In fact, he looked pretty good in February of 2019 when he fought to a decision with Adesanya.

Yes, Silva lost the fight, but at 43 years old, Silva was able to keep the fight close, and he won a round. Adesanya is the best in the world right now, but he still has a ways to go in my eyes before he can be declared the greatest middleweight in UFC history. That’s still belongs to the Spider.