The MMA Pound-for-Pound Debate
Pound-for-Pound who is the best? It’s one of the most resonate questions in MMA today. While typically the list of the people who are at the top of this ranking (re: Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre) is typically always the same across different sources, there has often been some difficulty in actually defining what the term “Pound-for-Pound” really means.
From what I’ve observed, writers and MMA aficionados alike tend to throw this the around the term “Pound-for-Pound” with a little too much reckless abandon. Every time we see a fighter in the top 10 of any weight class put together a streak of a few impressive fights, all of the sudden they’re one of the “pound-for-pound” for best. Stringing together a few victories, even if you’re the champ, does not put you in a place where you deserve to be classified as the “pound-for-pound” best.
What the term means to me? “Pound-for-Pound” best has to be someone who has cleaned out their respective weight class, and could feasibly do the same in a number of divisions given a weight gain or loss. The best example of this is Anderson Silva. Silva has run through every top competitor in the MW division, and has made the two fighters he has matched up against at LHW look like rank amateurs (which in all fairness, is not far from truth when it comes to James Irvin). Silva has even shown a desire to fight at HW, which given his size and frame wouldn’t be unfeasible. All of this being noted, Silva has shown a desire to not leave the MW division; and being 37 he’s probably not got too many more fights left in him.
Who do I put as the top 5 Pound-for-Pound fighters in the world?
#1 Anderson Silva: Anyone who doesn’t have Silva at the top of their list really doesn’t know MMA. The only time this guy has come close to losing was against Sonnen – and he was injured for the fight. Any other fight he has had, in any other division, he has looked dominant.
#2 Georges St-Pierre: Even being a huge GSP fan, I can’t put him at the top of this list. That said, GSP has cleaned out the WW division (twice over on some fighters), and has looked unchallenged in almost every one of his fights. The lone blemish that everyone holds against GSP is his loss to Serra. St-Pierre will have a chance to cement his legacy against either Condit or Diaz when he returns from injury – after which point I predict he will move up to MW.
#3 Jon Jones: Bones is young, strong and reminds me of a hybrid of the first two fighters on this list. I have no doubt that one day he will be the P4P best. There are still a lot of challenges to come at LHW, but he has already come out on top against some of the best in the division. Given his size, there’s a good chance that we’ll see him move-up to HW one day, where physically he could match up with almost anyone in that division.
#4 Jose Aldo: The only reason I put Aldo below Jones is that I feel Jones has faced tougher competition. That said, Aldo looks untouchable against almost every fighter faces. As I’ve said previously, I do believe he will be the first fighter to hold two different belts at the same time.
#5 Frankie Edgar: I really hate to put Edgar on this list, but he does deserve it. He’s the Rocky Balboa of the MMA world in my opinion – not the most talented, but tough as nails and always finds a way to win. I can’t see him ever going up to WW, but I could see him dropping down to FW and doing some damage there.
… and that is the last word.