THE debate continues to rage over who is truly the UFC's Greatest of All Time – but there is space for four on the mythical Mount Rushmore.
The American National Memorial sculpture, situated in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, features the carved heads of former presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
Following UFC president Dana White's list, we picked our own past and present stars who deserve to be put on the UFC's own Rushmore.
And despite Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey's star power – which helped transcend the UFC into the mainstream – they have been left out, with other fighters boasting more impressive in-cage accolades.
Here SunSport reveals the four legends who make the cut.
Gracie won the UFC's inaugural tournament in 1993 and stunned as he beat much larger and favoured opponents with jiu-jitsu.
The Rio de Janeiro native, now 53, became a pioneer for introducing jiu-jitsu into MMA and the art of mixing fighting codes.
The Gracie family – which has up to 40 MEMBERS – are credited for revolutionising Brazilian jiu-jitsu, encouraging fighters to take the action to the ground.
Royce and the rest of his siblings also made a name for themselves in Japan, but will always be remembered for modernising MMA in America.
He last fought in 2016, beating Ken Shamrock, NINE YEARS after he was last in the cage.
Royce's son, Khonry, has now transitioned into a fighting career, with a 2-1 MMA record.
Silva made his UFC debut in 2006 after success in South America and Europe as he KO'd Chris Leben in devastating fashion.
It earned him an immediate shot at Rich Franklin's middleweight title in his next fight, and the Brazilian again stole the show with another stoppage.
Silva would go on to win his next 14 fights, stretching his unbeaten streak over seven years.
He broke the record for longest title reign in UFC history, lasting 2,457 days and made ten successful defences, the second most ever.
But away from the records, Silva remains one of the most celebrated fighters of all time due to his amazing striking skills and matrix-like defence.
He has a Hollywood-esque highlight-reel full of finishes and octagon moments.
At 45, he is on the verge of his final UFC fight, having won just once in his last eight bouts.
St-Pierre is regarded as one of the most well-rounded fighters off all time, shining in both his striking and grappling ability.
It made him an almost unstoppable force during his run as welterweight king, which included wins over BJ Penn, Matt Hughes, Matt Sera and Nick Diaz.
His two losses – against Hughes and Sera – were both avenged, meaning he beat everyone he shared the cage with.
He also jumped up to middleweight in 2017, beating Michael Bisping for the title.
The two-division champion's body of work and technical skills ranks him undoubtedly in the elite of UFC legends.
GSP has been teasing one more return to the cage, with lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov hoping to bring the Canadian icon out of retirement.
A win for the 39-year-old against currently unbeaten Khabib could be the factor ranking him as the best to have ever stepped foot in the octagon.
Another who joins Silva and St-Pierre in the GOAT discussion is Jones.
UFC boss White has even gone on record to name the American as the greatest talent he has ever seen.
The former light-heavyweight ruler – who has an extraordinary 84.5 inch reach – has blended a unique set of striking skills with fearsome wrestling.
His only loss came in 2009 following a DQ against Matt Hamill – a decision that should have just been a point deducted.
Jones' list of beaten opponents also makes him stand out from the crowd, with wins over Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson.
He has also beaten the new age of rivals, which helped him break the record for most title bout wins, surpassing GSP with 14.
But Jones has had his controversies outside the octagon, three times losing his belt for doping or code of conduct violations.
The 33-year-old current pound-for-pound No1 has now moved up to heavyweight, and a second UFC title could cement his place as the undisputed best ever.
Source: Read Full Article