UFC featherweight GOAT debate intensifies following Max Holloway's dominant UFC 231 win

UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway put on a performance for the ages on Saturday night in the UFC 231 main event in Toronto, battering the previously-unbeaten Brian Ortega so viciously that the doctors refused to let Ortega continue into the fifth and final round. The dominant victory was the 13th in a row for the featherweight king, who despite not exhibiting picture-perfect health leading into the title defense, gave us arguably the best outing of his entire career. 

Upon witnessing the utter superiority of Holloway inside the Scotiabank Arena, it was easy in the moment to proclaim Holloway the greatest to ever compete within the UFC's 145-pound division. If you're a fan who relies on statistics to determine an answer to a greatest of all time debate, then you may side with Holloway. 

When it comes to debating the greatest of all time in the featherweight ranks, however, many are still unwilling to dismiss the legendary Jose Aldo, who went undefeated for nine years prior to dropping the UFC featherweight title in 2015. Even Holloway himself, who recorded two TKO victories over Aldo in 2017 (with the first earning him the undisputed UFC featherweight title), still considers the 32-year-old Brazilian as the best to ever compete at 145. The reigning champ was quick to point in Aldo's direction on Saturday when reporters began questioning his all-time great status following his convincing win over Ortega. 

"You're wrong," Holloway said via MMA Fighting. "I still believe the greatest featherweight of all time is Jose Aldo. When I'm 30 or 31, or his age, then you ask me if I'm the greatest featherweight of all time if I'm still here. But, at the end of the day, I just want to be pound for pound No. 1."

In the grand scheme of the debate, though, this is more than just a two-horse race to some. Both Holloway and Aldo hold one thing in common: they've both been defeated by former featherweight and two-division champion Conor McGregor. Despite his recent setback to reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 upon his return following a near two-year layoff, that fact alone still has fans proclaiming "The Notorious" as the GOAT at 145 pounds. Naturally, the rarely-humble McGregor weighed in on the debate on his own behalf, in his own unique way. 

Right now, there may not be a right or wrong answer to the question of who is, in fact, the GOAT at UFC featherweight. Even looking towards the future, at just 27 years of age, there's no reason to believe that Ortega won't take the humbling experience from Saturday night, learn from it and return even better than he was before suffering his first professional loss. "T-City" already seems determined to one day earn the right to state his own case. 

Jack joined CBS Sports in 2018 as an editor and writer covering college football, combat sports and golf. He was raised to love the New York Yankees unconditionally since birth and firmly believes a four-team... Full Bio

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