Anderson Silva proved that he is the greatest middleweight on the face of the planet on Saturday night when he crushed top contender Chael Sonnen in the second round of their UFC 148 battle in Las Vegas.
The knockout win for the champion was his record 11th consecutive UFC title defense and the fourth time in a row that he has finished his opponent.
UFC President Dana White has been very vocal about proclaiming that Silva is the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. But is he the greatest going today?
There is no doubt that his ability to bounce back in fights was challenged in both fights against Sonnen; however, the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world shouldn’t be decisively losing five of seven (total) rounds against one of his challengers, should he?
As great as Anderson Silva is, UFC 148 may have proved that while he is still the best middleweight in MMA, he is no longer the best “pound-for-pound” fighter in the sport.
That distinction goes to the 24-year-old phenomenon, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones.
While he has not dominated the scene for anywhere near as long as Silva has, what Jones has done since his debut for the promotion in 2008 is incredible.
Jones’ 10-1 record in the UFC is scathed only an outrageous decision to disqualify him during a one-sided beatdown on Matt Hamill in at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale. During that bout, Hamill landed just seven total strikes to Jones’ 55 before referee Steve Mazzagatti stepped in to disqualify Jones for using “illegal elbows”.
The UFC opted to essentially treat that “loss” as a “win” for Jones and he continued to move up the ranks, destroying the likes of Brandon Vera, Vladimir Matyushenko and Ryan Bader in before steamrolling “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128 to become the champion of the division.
Jones fought four times in 2011, each time competing against an opponent who was ranked within the top 10 in the division, including three former champions. Not only did he win those fights, he completely crushed and finished all four opponents in highly impressive fashion.
Throughout that run, Jones has not only avoided losing a fight, but add in the win over another former champion in Rashad Evans and he has avoided even unanimously losing a single round.
There is no denying that Anderson Silva is great. He has been at the top of this sport for years. However, the truth is that, although he came out on top in his fights against Sonnen, he did look very vulnerable in those contests, losing numerous rounds to the challenger before finally getting the two wins.
One could argue against Jones being the pound-for-pound best if he wasn’t fighting top competition, but he absolutely is. In fact, a case could be made that no one in the history of the sport has ever had a tougher string of fights than Jones has gone through over the past two years.
At this point, we have not seen Jones look susceptible to damage whatsoever in a fight. Until that happens, it’s hard to argue that the 205-pound champion should be considered the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in MMA.
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