(Warning: this is a long ass post so cliffs; Adesanya is better because he's fought a higher level striker than anyone silva had faced, he responded better to adversity, his fundamentals are better than Silva and their own fight at UFC 234 demonstrated that Adesanya would defeat prime Silva. If your intrigued and want to understand more, read on) With Anderson Silvas retirement from the UFC and the talk of GOATS this week, it makes one think, who is the GOAT striker in MMA? For the longest time, I would've said it was prime Anderson Silva (05-12), given his ability to make his opponents look like they didn't belong in the same organisation, let alone octagon, with him. Silvas instincts with his head movement to just avoid his opponents strikes, whilst having insanely quick and lethal counters, made him at times look unbeatable. This was best displayed in his Forrest Griffin fight (timestamped at the beginning of the end). However, despite the fact that he is probably the current GOAT MW, I would argue that the GOAT striker to compete in MMA is actually the no.2 GOAT MW (no. 1 if you discount PEDs), the Last Stylebender, Israel Adesanya. Here are a few reasons: 1) Competition (striking wise) : Anderson fought some elite fighters like Hendo, Belfort, Chael, Marquadt and Franklin but in retrospect, none of them where what one would consider elite strikers, at least not compared to Anderson. Sure TRT belfort was a monster, and Hendo had that H-bomb power but in a pure striking matchup, Anderson was on a different level to all of them. By comparison, Bobby Knuckles, at that point (2019), was seen by many to be the best Striker at MW since the Spider, and there were many who believed that he could KO Israel in a pure striking match. The fact that Adesanya made him look like an amateur at points, and KO'd him twice, showed that his ability to read and time a high strike IQ opponent like Whittaker was unlike anything we had seen to that point. Yes, many argue Whittaker looked off in that fight, with his lunging style, but a) we've seen that lunging style work effectively against another high level striker in Till and b) a large percentage of why Whittaker was lunging was due to Adesanyas faints making it difficult for Whittaker to get a read on Adesanya. Of course, many will argue that Whittaker underestimated Adesanya, based on the Gastelum fight, but that nicely segways into my next point. 2) Toughest fights. Its interesting when you compare the toughest wins of each fighters career (Sonnen 1 for Silva, Gastelum for Adesanya). Its true that Gastelum did outstrike Adesanya in RDs 1 and 4 of their fight and landed shots that badly wobbled him, but again, a) Gastelums hand speed might be the quickest in the division (look at his bisping finish), and b) that head kick was something that had not been seen in Gastelums arsenal to that point. By comparison, although he's arguably a better fighter, Chael is not nearly as good a striker as Gastelum. He does not have the hand speed, KO power or boxing fundamentals that KG has. However, Chael outstruck Anderson for large portions of their fight on the feet (RD1 especially). Its also worth noting that Israel comeback in the 5th to KD Gastelum three times and arguably deserving a finish, whereas Anderson got a last ditch triangle to retain his belt vs Sonnen. One could argue that that because Chael was a better wrestler than Gastelum, worrying about the TD made Anderson more hesitant about throwing strikes, and also allowed him to be caught. However, Israel has also fought fighters who offered TD threats (Brunson, Vettori) yet was never hesitant in those fights to throw strikes. This again leads to the third point... 3) THE KEY POINT: Superior fundamentals. Its funny when people call Adesanya "the next Silva" because in reality, stylistically, they are very different. Defensively, Silva relied a lot on his quick reflexes and head movement to just avoid his opponents strikes, whilst remaining in the pocket in front of them, giving his opponents the illusion that he could not be hit, despite remaining in striking range. However, this style was very dependent on his speed and reflex ability, and therefore greatly diminished with age, hence why he was caught by Chael and Bisping and eventually KO'd by Weidman. By comparison, Adesanya uses lateral movement and quick angles with his footwork to ensure his opponents never have the ability to set up their strikes, meaning that at times, they look hesitant and confused. Like Silva, he also uses head movement but unlike Silva, his is more leaning to avoid strikes rather the ducking and weaving style. Adesanya also occasionally blocks shots, something we rarely if at all saw from Silva. This was best demonstrated in the Whittaker fight where Whittaker lunges in with a 1-2 and Adesanya angles off whilst stepping from orthodox to southpaw, as well as leaning back to avoid the right hand, whilst countering with his own (at this point) lead right hook that drops Whittaker in RD 1 (timestamped). Offensively too, Adesanya is more sound, relying on faints and footwork to setup strikes compared to the weird escrima/wing chun hand movements we saw from Silva to bait his opponents. By comparison as well, Adesanya throws far more basic fundamental shots more effectively than the "Flashy shit" we saw from Silva. This kind of harks to the fact that Adesanya was a Glory MW title challenger and therefore, has a far more sound and established kickboxing record than anything Silva could muster. Even though Adesanyas still in his prime and we don't know how his style ages, given that his defensive and offensive style rely on timing, footwork and precision compared to Silvas speed and cat like reflexes, its highly likely that this style ages better since it gives opponents less opportunity to land strikes compared to Silvas. This finally segways to the last point. 4) We've already seen this. After their fight at UFC 234, many argued that that fight demonstrated that Prime Anderson would demolish Adesanya, given how Silva looked solid against Adesanya and even had some moments where he looked threatening i.e. the flying knee. However, IMO, 7 out of 10 times, prime Adesanya would beat Prime Silva. Prime Silva was primarily a counter striker, who relied on his baits and head movement to get his opponents to throw before countering them. However, part of this strength relied on his opponents being bedazzled by his baits and weird movements and throwing, often times recklessly due to how frustrated they could get since they were unable to hit him. A fighter with Adesanyas striking IQ and kickboxing pedigree would most likely not bite on these baits and rather look to frustrate silva by landing on him from the outside, something Adesanya could easily do given his reach and height advantage.. Adesanyas speed and timing would most likely allow him to do this, and it would also mean that if Silva were to attempt to counter, Adesanya could use his footwork to quickly change angles and move out of the way. Prime Silva would be the one who would have to close the distance and land on Adesanya, but we all know how effective Izzy is at counter striking. Its true, Silva could catch him at points by throwing something so unconventional that Adesanya wouldn't have time to react to it, but IMO, more than likely, Adesanya would frustrate prime silva, get him to lunge in and probably beat him via 5 rd points decision. In conclusion, whilst evaluating all metrics above, Silva maybe the GOAT MW at this point in time, but based purely on their ability as strikers, Adesanya is a greater striker than Silva. And by being a better striker than silva, it comfortably lands him IMO as the GOAT striker to ever compete in MMA. What do you think Sherbros? Who to you is the GOAT MMA striker? Also if you read through that shit, fairplay, you are a fucking legend.