Who is the best in the world in the ultra popular world of Mixed Martial Arts? With leagues in Brazil, Canada, Japan, Russia, and the U.S., fighters have the freedom and choice of where and who they want to fight, which many times earns them fame and fortune.
Many monthly lists come out giving a top 10-grade to fighters in each individual weight class and don’t venture to call out a single “best of the best.” This is a great way to keep up with MMA, but for those interested in reading about the best fighters worldwide and not just in the mainstream UFC, it’s rather conventional.
Below is our ranking of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, regardless of weight class.
1. Anderson Silva – 185/205 (UFC)
Silva is the best technical striker in MMA. He picks his opponents apart methodically and has lifted himself to a higher level than anyone else at 185 and some feel 205, as well. He brings a great Muay Thai clinch, has solid Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and can finish off black belts on the ground. There’s not much else you can say about Silva; just feel sorry for his next victim.
2. Georges St. Pierre – 170 (UFC/UCC)
St. Pierre has dangerous knockout power in his hands and kicks, coupled with great wrestling and jiu jitsu styles. He has taken down the best in the world at 170 including Olympic Judo black belts, American college wrestlers, and dominant kick boxers. His nickname of “Rush” is well earned as he usually pushes the pace and is quick to finish his opponent. If he stops BJ Penn again and moves up in weight class, he’d be considered the best overall.
3. Fedor Emelianenko – Heavyweight (Affliction/Pride)
Emelianeko has never been stopped by an opponent in a fight (he suffered one loss due to a doctor stoppage) and has the largest list of victims in MMA. Why not the top spot? If he beats Arlovski at “Afflictions Day of Reckoning”, then only the excitement of Pierre and Silva would keep him out. Emelianenko is still the best heavyweight in the world with heavy hands, world championship Sambo and ground and pound. Many US fans don’t know much about Fedor because he fought for some time in Japan and Russia, but after squaring off with Tim Silvia and Arlovski, he will cement his place in MMA history.
4. BJ Penn – 155/170 (UFC/K1)
Penn has all the tools to be the best. He has amazing dexterity and flexibility for his jiu jitsu game, as well as knockout boxing skills. He has fought at many different weight classes and has been successful in most. Perhaps his only downside is his mental game. Despite this, he has dominated the 155 lightweight class and has been successful at 170 in the UFC. He could become the only person to hold two titles at one time in the UFC.
5. Rashad Evans – 205 (UFC)
Evans is an undefeated 18-0-1 Michigan State wrestler who has knockout power in hands and feet, and gave the most brutal knockout Chuck Liddell has ever endured. He is the new UFC light heavyweight champ and has shown improvement in his stand up boxing and cardio, which was once a weakness. If another big name fight goes his way, he could move up the list.
6. Miguel Torres- 135 (WEC)
No one else in the WEC has beaten down their opponents like Torres has. He is a tough kid from a rough neighborhood who happens to have a black belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu, his own training center, and the WEC bantamweight title. So far, no one has come close to taking his belt and in most cases they receive a beating inside the cage.
7. Thiago Alves – 170 (UFC)
Thiago is another UFC welterweight who has knocked off big names in a hurry. Huge wins over Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck have given him number one contender rankings in the UFC. Brutal Muay Thai striking and powerful knockout punching power will keep him high on most MMA lists of 170-pound fighters. At such a young age and with the fortune of having a great team at his disposal, he should only continue his rise to the top.
8. Quinton Jackson – 205 (UFC/Pride/WFA)
A long time unknown in the U.S. fighting in Pride, Jackson’s boxing skills have sky rocketed his ability in the octagon. Rampage brings it all to the table – wrestling, huge slams, and great hands. A great showing against Wanderlei Silva has put him back into title contention and as long as his legal issues stay out of the way, he may be back in the mix for a belt.
9. Urijah Faber – 145 (WEC)
Exciting, energetic, and “natural” are all used to describe the California Kid. One of the more wild and thrilling fighters with solid striking and submissions, Faber doesn’t normally disappoint. Though he lost his title to Mike Brown, he is still 21-2 and will most likely get his rematch for the featherweight belt with another victory over Jens Pulver.
10. Andrei Arlovski – Heavyweight (Affliction/UFC)
The “Pitbull”, Arlovski is a former UFC heavyweight champion, a pro boxer, and Sambo champion. He has the tools to be the best heavyweight in MMA, but the biggest question regarding him is which fighter will enter the ring: the ultra-aggressive striker, which earned him his belt, or the calmer methodical version, which has cost him his title? With his upcoming fight with Fedor looming, the result will place him among the best or place him as just another good heavyweight. He has shown knockout power and good submission skills against top contenders in the UFC.
–Written By TSR Contributor John Duke