Top 10 Pound for Pound MMA Fighters in the World 8/15

One month ago I had a lot of debate as to who is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

After UFC 101, my questions were answered.

Long have I felt Fedor Emelianenko was the best in the world no matter the weight class, but that honor I now give to Anderson Silva following his absolutely flawless win over Forrest Griffin.

The Silva victory combined with Emelianenko opting to sign with Strikeforce puts Silva at No.1 in my book. When making this list I am considering the fighters as they are today, not as they were five years ago. Emelianenko looked a little sloppy in his last fight and is now going to have much easier competition as a whole in Strikeforce, whereas Silva and Georges St. Pierre have fought the best and looked impressive doing so.
So, here is my list. As always, I encourage healthy discussions.

1. Anderson Silva (24-4) – Middleweight/Light Heavyweight – UFC
If you really look at, the Silva vs. Griffin fight was every bit as big as St. Pierre vs. Penn from a standpoint that you had a champion from one weight class facing a bigger fighter that was one fight removed from being the champion in that weight class as well. Silva made Griffin look like Glass Joe from Mike Tyson Punch Out and basically made Griffin quit out of embarrassment (which has caused me to stop reading Forrest’s book, as he know seems to look like a hypocrite). After that display, I truly feel that Silva could not only be Light Heavyweight champion, I have serious beliefs that he is the kind of guy that could actually beat a guy like Brock Lesnar. His accuracy and power while backing up would be a problem for Lesnar in more ways than one. Brock wouldn’t be able to get a takedown without eating a solid knee or punch that could put him down. I know many of you think I am crazy probably, but that is the way I feel.

2. Georges St. Pierre (19-2) – Welterweight – UFC
I used to think GSP could give Silva a fight, but I don’t feel so good about that now. If Silva was to move to Light Heavyweight on a permanent basis, I would like to see GSP move up to middleweight for a new set of challenges. Guys like Mike Swick and Martin Kampmann don’t seem to present much of a challenge and nobody is going to be excited to see rematches with Jon Fitch or Thiago Alves. Middleweight could present some intriguing fights and would really test GSP.

3. Fedor Emelianenko (30-1-1) – Heavyweight – Strikeforce
Well, again this is all about present day and Fedor hasn’t done anything as of late to keep his top ranking while guys like Silva and St. Pierre are beating some of the best. Fedor had no control over what happened with Affliction: Trilogy, but the option to sign with the UFC was there and he turned it down. He has to know that UFC has better overall talent and hosting an exhibition sparring match with Gegard Mousasi is not going to get me excited. I think Fedor’s career is probably the best of anyone, but in terms of best fighter in the world today, I don’t see him as No. 1.

4. Lyoto Machida (15-0) – Light Heavyweight – UFC
Machida is on his way to building an argument for the No. 1 spot after his quick finishes of Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans. Machida has a unique style like Anderson Silva that has been hard for opponents to figure out. Machida vs. A. Silva is the fight people would love to see, but alas, it will not happen as both have stated they won’t fight each other due to their close bond. Machida is another fighter that seems to be able to transcend his weight class and I think could pose a great challenge to the heavyweight division.

5. Brock Lesnar (4-1) – Heavyweight – UFC
People hated the idea of Lesnar being on this list, but which fighter in the heavyweight division has looked better than him in the last couple years. Lesnar disposed of Randy Couture and Frank Mir and dominated Heath Herring. His speed, power, and agility are equal to any smaller-weight fighter, but he applies it all to a 285-pound frame. Lesnar is still learning but has clearly looked better in his last three fights than other heavyweights like Couture, Mir, Nogueira, CroCop, and Arlovski. Other up and comers like Shane Carwin, Cain Velasquez, and Brett Rogers still have to sustain wins over big names to surpass Brock.

6. BJ Penn (14-5-1) – Lightweight – UFC
Penn showed why he is the best lightweight in the world with his submission win over Kenny Florian at UFC 101. Diego Sanchez in up next for Penn, but I still feel the Hawaiian would rather be fighting at 170, where he thinks he can be the best there too. Perhaps with a few more wins at 155, Penn can take another crack at the 170-pound weight class.

7. Jake Shields (23-4-1) – Welterweight/Middleweight – Strikeforce
Shields is another fighter that has had success in multiple weight classes, but he is not higher on the list because his competition is not as deep as other fighters. I think Shields could be a great challenge for St. Pierre in the UFC, but for now he is set at Strikeforce, where the organization seems locked into to making him their marquee fighter.

8. Mike Thomas Brown (22-4) – Featherweight – WEC
Not much new on Brown, but he does have an upcoming fight with Jose Aldo, which may be a tougher fight than his two with Urijah Faber. Aldo is explosive, but a win for Brown would push him higher up the list.

9. Miguel Angel Torres (36-2) – Bantamweight – WEC
I know many will cry foul here, but I am not going to write off Torres. His loss to Brian Bowles was clear cut, but Torres had Bowles hurt prior to getting caught. I still look at Torres and see him as the best 135-pounder in the world. Bowles will have a chance to show the win was no fluke in the near future, but for now, I look at this loss like St. Pierre’s loss to Matt Serra. We all know then that Serra was not the best in the world, and I don’t see Bowles as the best yet either.

10. Rashad Evans (13-1-1) – Light Heavyweight – UFC
Rampage Jackson held this spot a month ago, but based of Griffin’s loss at UFC 101, I think that hurt Jackson’s stock, as he was unable to really damage Griffin much in their fight last summer. Evans made shorter work of Griffin and seems to be more of a multi-dimensional fighter than Rampage, who hasn’t changed up his game much over the years. When Evans and Rampage fight in December, that will answer the questions as to who should be in this final spot.

Honorable Mention: Thiago Alves, Rampage Jackson, Dan Henderson, Gegard Mousasi, Jon Fitch, Shinya Aoki, Diego Sanchez

– On a side note, give me Gina Carano in an upset and Mousasi in a quick win at tonight’s Strikeforce card.

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