Brian Stann knows a thing or two about fighting. After leaving behind a career as a top-flight middleweight in the UFC, “The Greatest Living American” (as his broadcast partner Jon Anik refers to him) has gone on to become one of the most well-respected analysts and commentators in MMA. And being an analyst and long-time fan of the sport, Stann recently weighed in on the hot-button question arising out of UFC on FOX 24: is Demetrious Johnson the greatest fighter ever?
“I definitely thought he was the best pound-for-pound currently and as I watched him prepare for this fight, the question really started to arise to me over whether he’s the best ever,” Stann told the Anik and Florian podcast recently. “And in terms of technique and capabilities, I think there’s no question. The thing that people tend to question [with regard to Johnson] is the strength of schedule. Anderson Silva, brilliant striker who’s got some submission capabilities, he has nowhere near the wrestling credentials or ground and pound that Demetrious Johnson has.”
Johnson put on a masterclass performance on Saturday, submitting the highly esteemed BJJ black belt Wilson Reis with an armbar in the third round. The win was Johnson’s tenth consecutive title defense of the 125-pound belt which tied Silva’s record. Silva, along with former welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre are two of the more frequently cited names mentioned when discussing “Greatest of All Time” credentials. For Stann, the well-roundedness of St-Pierre’s game made him the best ever — that is, until Johnson came along.
“In my eyes, the best ever was Georges St-Pierre before DJ and I just thought GSP’s total dominance, his ability to take the fight and dictate where it goes, takedown defense, offense, the ability to end a fight striking and on the ground — I thought he was the best ever,” he said. “But when you add up everything, [him] being so fluent lefty, righty, angles, hard to hit, beautiful offense, power — he was doing legitimate damage to Wilson Reis during this fight — mixing in punches, kicks, excellent boxing, kickboxing, wrestling ability from both sides, passing the guard consistently, having an answer for every single position, being good off his back, having excellent submissions. To me, this fight solidified the fact that he’s the best to ever do it.
“When I look at the strength of competition, we all know, the lower you go in weight, the more technical you need to be in this sport. You can get away with a lot of things in the heavier weight classes, especially when you go north of welterweight. 185, 205, 265, you don’t have to be as good of an athlete to be considered world class. When you drop to 170 and below, you’re talking about world-class athletes and in my eyes, right now, Demetrious Johnson is the best to ever do it.”
But “Mighty Mouse” can’t afford to rest on his laurels because there’s another GOAT looming right behind him. Former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was well on his way to establishing himself as the greatest fighter ever when personal failings outside the cage derailed his title run. With Jones’ suspension for a failed drug test ending this summer, “Bones” will be returning soon, assuming he can get his act together. If he does, Stann says Jones is the biggest threat to unseat Johnson from his newly won throne.
“Absolutely. But you have to take into account the lumps in [Jones’s] legacy, the pitfalls. We’ve got to see him return and if he can return and if he can return and he can get consistency — to become a ‘greatest of all time,’ consistency is a big factor, that’s one of the reasons why Anderson Silva is in that conversation. He’s never looked as good, in my opinion, all around, as Jon Jones or Georges St-Pierre; he certainly has at striking.
“But consistency is a big deal and failing different tests, things of that nature, they all matter. But if Jon Jones can come back and regain the light heavyweight crown and then he goes up and does what I think he can also do which is gain the heavyweight crown, absolutely he can take over that status. The thing that everyone knows about Jon is, it’s always up to him. He’s the only guy that can beat him.”
Do your dance. Demetrious Johnson says he’s “done” defending himself as a draw.
360 from UFC on Fox.
Rose on TMZ.
Dana on TMZ.
Big John interview.
Tyron Woodley is dope.
Brit Pack. UFC on Fox and DJ as GOAT are the topics of discussion.
CME. UFC on Fox and Bobby Knuckles disavowing his name.
Severe MMA. Pound-for-pound lists and the weekend ahead.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Honestly, I hope they make this fight next. Let Jon Jones get a tune up and prove he can not screw up.
Maybe I'll do this to you jimi. Good morning haha pic.twitter.com/KKt3anRHIz— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 17, 2017
@dc_mma Sign the deal CHAMP !!!! stop all your commentator WWE shit. U trying to catch jones rusty. I give u 2 rounds with that big head.— JIMI MANUWA (@POSTERBOYJM) April 17, 2017
I'm not trying to catch anything. Let's go! I wanna fight you! Jones needs to get his sea legs back. Where's the contract. This light work https://t.co/GIiBKUTCmN— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 17, 2017
I did. I'll smash u any day bum! U will get embarrassed. U and I both know it. Now u get what u asked for. U won't last a round. https://t.co/0YqPfOvhtj— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 17, 2017
U watch the fight? I tried to stand. U all saw who started wrestling. https://t.co/wQVZ8ygqUl— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) April 17, 2017
@dc_mma U will never box with me Daniel. U got 1 way u think u will beat me. I will ko u Daniel.— JIMI MANUWA (@POSTERBOYJM) April 17, 2017
@dc_mma I don't need or want fame. The belt too small for ur waist. I'll make it look good with my Gucci don't worry. The belt is what I want!! ☝— JIMI MANUWA (@POSTERBOYJM) April 17, 2017
Does this mean the winner of Maia-Masvidal? Or someone else?
#TRAININGCAMP Starts #Today The next time I set foot in the #Octagon it will be 4 Title Fights in 12months. Starting with the Spirit, Mind, Soul and the Body will catch up. The fight outside the Cage has always proven to be tougher then the one inside. Time to win on both ends! @ufc #ufc #ChampCamp #AndStill #WhoGotMyBack !
Or maybe this is the news?
Derrick Lewis is absolutely ruthless.
Joanna’s motivational message of the day.
This man tells no lies.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2009: Anderson Silva won a unanimous decision over Thales Leites, successfully defending his middleweight title at UFC 97.
I’m about to hit you with a piping hot take but know that I am 100 percent serious: D.J.’s next fight should be against C.M. Punk in an openweight contest. Just think about it. I’m convinced that’s the fight to make.
Anyway, that’s all folks. Y’all enjoy your Tuesday’s and Conor bless.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy it.