This article was written in response to a very frustrating trend that seems to be developing among the writers here at B/R, and that is giving a fighter the title of "greatest ever."
First off, what makes a fighter "the greatest"?
His record? The number of championships he held? The defenses of those championships? His impact on the sport? His personality, charisma, and ability to connect to the fans? Other fighters and the media's opinions? The ability to remain humble in victory and display humility in defeat?
Would some sort of formula settle the debate once and for all? I highly doubt it. Many of these things mentioned cannot easily be translated into numbers.
And then, there is the question of the intangibles.
What are intangibles? Everyone has a fighter that he can't help but like—or hate—for no particular reason. And yet, if you asked him why, he would not be able to tell you why he liked or disliked that particular fighter.
Those are the intangibles.
Selecting a unanimous "greatest ever" is impossible for one simple reason: Everyone has different criteria.
The things one person believes are most important could be meaningless to another. A "greatest ever" is nothing more than an opinion, and should be respected as such. There is no such thing as a right or wrong opinion.
If you asked me my greatest ever, I have a feeling my answer might surprise you. But that's the beauty of opinion—and of our great sport.