"The greatest" anything is hard to define.
Ruth or Mays?
Kit-Kat or Reese's?
Ford or Chevy?
Any of these choices can be hotly debated for days, hell, for years (and they have been).
On the other hand, mixed martial arts offers us an easy choice. Choosing your favorite chocolate treat is difficult; choosing the best fighter in UFC history is so easy Clay Guida could do it.
It's Anderson Silva, end of discussion.
Here are some numbers for you to chew on (if you are into that sort of statistical analysis):
Fifteen: This is the number of times Silva has entered the Octagon. It is also the number of times he has had his hand raised at the conclusion of his bouts, a record.
Ten: This is the number of consecutive title defenses Silva has inside the Octagon, also a record.
Thirty-six: This is the number of times my jaw became detached from my face when watching Silva dispatch of his opponents. He is the best ever, and no fighter has ever dominated like he has.
Look, everyone likes to debate everything today, but there really is nothing to discuss here. The best UFC fighter of all time is so obvious that it's almost easy to overanalyze.
Just think for a second: Who has even come close to doing what Silva has done?
The first answer is Georges St-Pierre, and here is why he is not on Silva's level.
First, he has lost twice in the UFC. Cut it any way you would like, but losing is losing, and Silva has never lost inside the Octagon.
Secondly, he is not feared like "The Spider" is. How many times have we seen Silva taunt his opponents, begging them to engage, only to have them stand there utterly terrified and consumed by his presence?
Even if the answer is once (spoiler alert: it's a lot more than that), that would be one more time than GSP has struck similar fear in his opponent's soul.
Along with this, GSP has never ventured outside of the welterweight division. You do not have to do this to be considered great, and GSP is most certainly great, but Silva has taken on the challenge of a heavier weight class and looked even better in those performances. GSP cannot say the same, and that is yet another reason why he amazing but not Silva-amazing.
The second fighter that could perhaps be as good as Silva is Jon Jones. This one is a lot harder for me to debunk, because it definitely looks like the young phenom is on his way to a Silva-like run in his 205 lb. division.
Jones has the swagger, the skills and the professionalism to dethrone Silva as the greatest of all time, but with only three title defenses, he has a lot of work to do before being considered on Silva's level.
The tools are there for "Bones," but the experience and sheer volume of wins is not, so you still have to give the nod to Silva in this one.
Picking anybody but Anderson Silva as the greatest UFC fighter of all time is ignorant and foolish. Truly, there is no debate.
We have been lucky enough to see a legendary athlete perform over and over again inside the UFC Octagon, and our kids and kids' kids will undoubtedly wish they could have seen the magic firsthand.
That is special, ladies and gentlemen.
For the sake of repetition, put down your Kit-Kat (or Reese's) and say it with me: Anderson Silva is the GOAT.
This fact simply cannot be denied.