Alexander Volkanovski Should Enter The MMA GOAT Conversation If He Wins At UFC 284

UFC champ Alexander Volkanovski

Getty Image / Chris Unger

When MMA fans debate the GOATs in the sport, there are a few names that regularly come up.

Some fans argue in favor of Jon Jones as the GOAT despite his issues outside of the cage and failed drug tests.

Some believe Georges St. Pierre is the GOAT.

Others believe Anderson Silva deserve the crown.

Khabib Nurmagomedov gets thrown into the mix.

Henry Cejudo has a pretty solid claim to the title with his pair of UFC belts.

After this weekend, there could be a new entrant into the debate.

Tomorrow night, Alexander Volkanovski is heading up to lightweight to challenge Islam Makhachev for his title belt at UFC 284.

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It’s a tall task. Makhachev just dismantled Charles Oliveira to win the belt and Volkanovski is giving up quite a bit of size. He enters the fight as a sizable underdog.

If he pulls it off, we should be talking about him in the GOAT conversation with the rest of those big names.

Volkanovski has only fought in the UFC 12 times so far in his career, but he has made those fights count. On his way to the featherweight title, Volkanovski finished long-time contender Chad Mendes and won a decision against Jose Aldo, who was previously believed to be history’s greatest featherweight.

Then he took the belt off of Max Holloway, who is also a popular candidate for greatest featherweight ever. He has beaten Holloway two more times since then.

In total, he has defended his belt 4 times, dominating Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung in his other 2 defenses.

His 12 fight winning streak at featherweight is one that fans will expect to extend for some time as he would be a sizable favorite against any contender in the division right now other than Holloway.

A win over Makhachev would arguably be the most impressive on anybody’s resume in this conversation.

Jones has a win over Daniel Cormier and another that was overturned, but that was in his own weight class.

Nurmagomedov’s best win is probably Conor McGregor, who was fighting up a weight class.

GSP went up a weight class and won a belt, but there are some who question the strength of his opponent.

Silva won some big fights against former champs, but his most impressive wins against Forrest Griffin and Vitor Belfort aren’t quite as impressive as taking out a guy who just crushed a defending champion and would be lined as a sizable favorite against most of the top 10 in his division.

Alexander Volkanovski already has a strong claim to the title of best featherweight in MMA history. If he went up to lightweight and claimed that belt against an opponent that is expected to have a lengthy title reign, he should slide right into the conversation for greatest fighter regardless of weight class.