Comparing MMA and Boxing's Top 10 Pound-for-Pound Fighters

Nedu ObiAnalyst IIJanuary 19, 2012

Comparing MMA and Boxing's Top 10 Pound-for-Pound Fighters

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    The similarities between MMA and boxing are few and far between. Whilst the former incorporates a myriad of offensive and defensive facets, the latter, on the other hand, does what it says on the tin: box.

    By box, I mean throw punches in a variety of ways whilst evading oncoming fire.

    MMA is synonymous with wrestling, submissions and stand-up striking, and a certain amount of that striking has evolved from boxing. Though not exquisitely executed like the practitioners of the sweet science, it still plays a part in mixed martial arts overall makeup.

    It’s safe to say that if either went in to the others' realm, the likelihood of a victory would be slim to say the least.

    With that said, let’s take a look at the top 10 fighters in their respective sports and see how they compare.

    Note: Successful title defenses are inclusive of all the major belts from different organizations.

10. Dan Henderson

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    Record: 29-8, 13 KOs, 2 Subs


    Dan Henderson is a three-division world champion—a former Pride welterweight and middleweight champion as well as a Strikeforce light heavyweight titlist, a belt he relinquished prior to moving to the UFC.

    Despite having an impressive background in wrestling—a former Olympian in Greco-Roman wrestling and an NCAA Division-l standout—“Hendo” mostly prefers to keep his fights standing where he can unleash his comatose-like right hand, aptly named the “H-Bomb,” which has rendered a few of his opponent’s unconscious, most notably “Michael “The Count” Bisping.

    Hendo has had memorable victories against the likes of Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko (where the H-Bomb was in full effect) and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.


    Successful Title Defenses: Zero

    Current Win Streak: Four

10. Vitali Klitschko

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    Record: 43-2, 40KOs


    The older brother of multi-titlist Wladimir, Vitali “Dr. Ironfist” Klitschko won his first world title (WBO) in 1999, knocking out Herbie Hide in the second round.

    The current WBC heavyweight champion holds notable wins came against Larry Donald, Corrie Sanders, Samuel Peters and Shannon Briggs.

    Klitschko is one the heaviest hitters in boxing and possesses a granite chin akin to Dan Henderson.


    Successful Title Defenses: Eight

    Current Win Streak: 11

9. Rashad Evans

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    Record: 16-1-1, 6 KOs, 2 Subs


    The former UFC light-heavyweight titlist has good hand speed and relative power.

    “Suga” is also an accomplished Bjj practitioner and former NCAA Division-l standout.

    Though having a questionable chin, Rashad has still amassed an impressive record in his mixed martial arts career.

    His most notable wins came against Chuck Liddell, Thiago Silva and Quinton Jackson.


    Successful Title Defenses: Zero

    Current Win Streak: Three

9. Timothy Bradley

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    Record: 28-0-1 NC, 12 KOs


    “Desert Storm” is a former two-time WBC light welterweight champion and the current WBO titlist in that division.

    Bradley has speed, good footwork and great cardio, and his overall skill set is outstanding.

    He’s had wins over Francisco Rincon, Junior Witter, Lamont Peterson and Joel Casamayor.


    Successful Title Defenses: Six

    Current Win Streak: 28

8. Chael Sonnen

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    Record: 26-11-1, 7 KOs, 4 Subs


    A former NCAA Division-l All-American, Chael Patrick Sonnen is a former title contender in the UFC’s middleweight division, which makes him the only pound-for-pound fighter on the list who has never won a championship.

    He’s most renowned for his gift of the gab and trash talking, the latter of which has brought him notoriety and probably another shot at the 185-lb. crown currently held by Anderson Silva.



    Current Win Streak: One

8. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam

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    Record: 83-3-1, 45 KOs


    The current Lineal, Ring and WBC flyweight champion has reigned supreme in his division whilst compiling an astounding record.

    The Thai native went on an incredible 56-fight winning streak before losing to Daisuke Naito, whom he’d previously defeated on two separate occasions. He did, however, eke out a draw in their fourth encounter.

    The 34-year-old southpaw is by far the best in his weight class.


    Successful Title Defenses: 20

    Current Win Streak: 16

7. Junior Dos Santos

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    Record: 14-2, 10 KOs, 2 Subs


    Current UFC heavyweight champion Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos is the division’s most lethal stand-up striker, possessing power in either hand.

    He also has the boxing skill set akin to those who earn their crust in the four-cornered ring.

    The Brazilian denizen also has good takedown defense and a background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu; however, his weapon of choice is his fists.

    Prior to knocking out Cain Velasquez to capture the title at UFC on Fox, Cigano had registered wins against Fabricio Werdum, Mirko Filipovic, Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin.


    Successful Title Defenses: Zero

    Current Win Streak: Nine

7. Wladimir Klitschko

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    Record: 56-3, 49 KOs


    Wladimir “Dr. Steelhammer” Klitschko is the current Lineal, IBF, WBC, WBA (defeated David Haye), WBO, IBO and Ring heavyweight champion.

    He has successfully defended the IBF, IBO and WBO for nigh on six years, making him the longest reigning titlist in those organizations.

    Klitschko is also the seventh longest reigning champion of all time.

    He’s noted for his tremendous jab and dynamite right hand.


    Successful Total Title Defenses: 21

    Current Win Streak: 14

6. Jose Aldo

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    Record: 21-1, 12 KOs, 2 Subs


    The Brazilian fighter is arguably the greatest featherweight mixed martial artist to have graced the sport.

    A former WEC champion, Aldo current resides in the UFC as its 145-lb. titlist.

    As well as being a jiu-jitsu black belt exponent, “Scarface” also possesses some lethal striking power, most notably his devastating kicks.

    He’s had wins over Mike Brown, Urijah Faber, Kenny Florian and most recently, Chad Mendes.


    Successful Total Title Defenses: Five

    Current Win Steak: 13

6. Juan Manuel Marquez

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    Record: 53-6-1, 39 KOs


    Juan Manuel Marquez, 13 years Jose Aldo’s senior, is a three-division world champion and has spent most of his career campaigning at feather and super featherweight.

    Following his debut defeat to Javier Duran in 1993, Marquez had amassed a 29-fight win streak before losing to Freddie Norwood.

    Manuel Medina, Marco Antonio Barrera, Joel Casamayor, Juan Diaz and Michael Katsidis are just a few on his list of victories.

    “Dinamita” is also the bogeyman of one Manny Pacquiao.

    Even though he was never on winning side in their trilogy war, it was his great counter-punching prowess that always had the “Pac-Man” baffled.

    At 38, time is not on his side, and a possible fourth encounter with the Filipino congressman beckons.


    Successful Total Title Defenses: 16

    Current Win Streak: Zero

5. Dominick Cruz

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    Record: 19-1, 6 KOs, 1 Sub


    Dominick Cruz is a former WEC champion and resident bantamweight title holder in the UFC.

    Cruz has a solid wrestling background and is one the mixed martial artists on this list that has proven boxing skills.

    He has defeated the likes of Urijah Faber, Brian Bowles and Demetrious Johnson.


    Successful Title Defenses: Four

    Current Win Streak: 10

5. Andre Ward

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    Record: 25-0, 13 KOs


    An Olympic gold medallist, Andre “Son of God” Ward has the pedigree to not only go all the way to boxing superstardom, but to be an all-time great.

    Part of the Super-Six World Boxing tournament, Ward went on to win the tourney finale via a unanimous decision over Carl “The Cobra” Froch whilst capturing the WBC super middleweight crown and the vacant ring title in the process.

    En route to capturing the tourney trophy, Ward defeated Mikkel Kessler (won WBC super middleweight title), Allan Green, Sakio Bika and Arthur Abraham.

    He might not possess the required knockout power as evidenced by his KO percentage, but he’s a tough and durable pugilist.


    Successful Title Defenses: Four

    Current Win Streak: 25

4. Frankie Edgar

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    Record: 14-1-1, 3 KOs, 3 Subs


    Frankie “The Answer” Edgar usurped BJ Penn as the UFC’s lightweight kingpin. He was also involved in a trilogy battle with the indefatigable Grey Maynard, where he secured victory via Round 4 KO.

    With his supreme wrestling credentials, good jiu-jitsu and impressive boxing skills, Edgar is one of MMA’s finest exponents.


    Successful Title Defenses: Two

    Current Win Streak: Six

4. Nonito Donaire

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    Record: 27-1, 18 KOs


    Manny Pacquiao’s countryman is the WBC bantamweight champion and, just as Frankie Edgar, holds sway over his division.

    The 29-year-old Donaire is one of the great talents in boxing, and a move up in weight class is not out of the question.

    “The Filipino Flash” upended Vic Darchinyan to capture his first title (IBF flyweight), and most recently decimated Fernando Montiel in two-rounds, thus making him a three-division world titlist.


    Successful Title Defenses: Five

    Current Win Streak: 26

3. Jon Jones

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    Record: 15-1, 8 KOs, 5 Subs


    At 23, Jones became the youngest ever UFC 205-lb. titlist when he put a blitzkrieg on then champion Mauricio Rua.

    Bones Jones has also defeated two former title holders in Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida—winning via submission on both occasions.

    Jones is the new breed of MMA fighter, the prototype for future fighters and champions to emulate.

    He’s agile, elusive, explosive and unorthodox. Jones is also a consummate wrestler with a solid clinch and pulverising ground and pound assaults.

    If all goes according to the plans, by the end of 2012, Jones will assume the mantle of MMA’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter.


    Successful Title Defenses: Two

    Current Win Streak: Six

3. Sergio Martinez

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    Record: 48-2-2, 27 KOs


    The Argentinean southpaw is a former WBC and WBO middleweight champion and is currently in possession of The Ring middleweight belt.

    Sergio Martinez’s strengths lie in his endurance, elusiveness and his ability to throw punches from a variety of angles whilst possessing a devastating left-hook to boot.

    “Maravilla” has never been the most defensively astute of pugilists, but he more than makes up for it with his supreme hand speed.

    Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik, Paul “The Punisher” Williams and Sergiy “Razor” Dzinziruk are some of his most notable wins to date.

    At present, he holds a tight reign over the division, as does Jon Jones.


    Successful Title Defenses: Three

    Current Win Streak: Four

2. Georges St. Pierre

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    Record: 22-2, 8 KOs, 5 Subs


    Widely regarded as the best all-around mixed martial artist of his or any other era, Georges “Rush” St. Pierre is the current UFC welterweight titlist.

    His overall skill set: Black belts in Bjj, Gaidojutsu and Kyokushin Kaikan. He’s also well versed in Shidokan karate, wrestling, boxing and Muay Thai.

    “Rush” has fought and beaten the best that the 170-lb. division has had to offer—Matt Hughes (twice), Josh Koscheck (twice), BJ Penn (twice), Sean Sherk, Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves and Jake Shields.

    The Canadian is an all-time great and is destined for the UFC’s Hall of Fame in the not-too-distant future.


    Successful Title Defenses: Six

    Current Win Streak: Nine

2. Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

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    Record: 42-0, 26 KOs


    If Georges St. Pierre is the most rounded fighter of the MMA aeon, then Floyd “Money” Mayweather is one of the finest pugilists to have ever laced on a pair of gloves.

    A five-division world champion, Money May is the quintessential boxer—he possesses one of the best shoulder rolls in the business. His Philly-shell style is akin to the ministry of defense—it rarely gets breached.

    Of every pound-for-pound fighter on this list, save for Andre Ward, Money is the only one with a perfect record—42-0.

    His most notable wins include Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley and Victor Ortiz.

    The current WBC welterweight champ and all-time great would’ve been my choice for the No. 1 spot, but as the official world ranking system says otherwise, Money finds himself at No. 2.


    Successful Title Defenses: 19

    Current Win Streak: 42

1. Anderson Silva

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    Record: 31-4, 18 KOs, 6 Subs


    There is only one Anderson “The Spider” Silva—the matrix-esque phenom has had the UFC’s middleweight assemblage on lock down ever since he made his debut for the Zuffa-based promotion back in June of 2006.

    His precise striking and deft foot work have made him a nightmare for all who have stood in his path.

    In addition, The Spider holds black belts in Bjj, Muay Thai, Taekwondo and Judo.

    Silva has notable wins over Rich Franklin (twice), Nate Marquardt, Dan Henderson, Forrest (light heavyweight bout) Griffin, Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami.

    He also has the most title defenses the UFC history.

    The future Hall of Famer is considered the greatest fighter in the history of the sport.


    Successful Title Defenses: Nine

    Current Win Streak: 15 

1. Manny Pacquiao

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    Record: 54-3-2, 38 KOs


    The first ever eight-division world champion, Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao is the official No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer.

    As with Anderson Silva, the current WBO welterweight kingpin has exacted a reign of terror in his division (Floyd Mayweather not inclusive).

    The calibre of opponents he has dispatched reads like a who’s who of the boxing world—Marco Antonio Barrera (twice), Erik Morales (twice), Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Angel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez (twice).

    A natural southpaw, the Filipino politician is an explosive, rough and rugged fighter with ample skills to boot.

    He also possesses a venomous left-hook which was on display when he sent Hatton to sleep in their championship bout back in 2009.


    Successful Title Defenses: 13

    Current Win Streak: 15


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