Jose Aldo's Place in the Pound-for-Pound Discussion

Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2014

Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Jose Aldo (red gloves) celebrates beating Ricardo Lamas (blue gloves) during UFC 169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Aldo defended his featherweight crown for the eighth time, including his WEC title defenses, at UFC 169.

The dominant decision victory over Ricardo Lamas pushes his overall record to 24-1, and his UFC record to 6-0. The longtime featherweight champion currently sits at No. 2 on the UFC's pound-for-pound rankings, but should he be No. 1?

Pound-for-pound rankings began in combat sports to give the lesser weights more notoriety and to judge based purely on skill. If you took away all of the physical advantages (height, weight, reach, etc.) who would be the best?

That is why Aldo is still underrated, and should be considered the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world today.

UFC President Dana White doesn't believe so. At the UFC 169 post-fight press conference he was critical of Aldo. White believes that Aldo lays back. However, Aldo has finishes in two of his last four title defenses, including a first round KO over No. 1-ranked Chad Mendes.

Aldo does let it go inside the cage, but only when the opportunities present themselves. Aldo has some of the best killer instincts in the game, and he uses them wisely. That is why he is the champion.

When it comes to placing Aldo above UFC light heavyweight champion Jones for the top pound-for-pound spot, you have to look at their skills and how they have competed in their division.

These two are in the UFC record books. Jones leads the all-time takedown defense stat with 95.8% defense, but he truly has not been tested as often as Aldo has been in this area. Aldo still checks in at 88.9% takedown defense. They are practically even here.

Jones is ranked No. 7 in strike differential with 2.26, and Aldo has the No. 6 strike defense (72.1%).

Those are just stats. They don't tell the whole story.

Who is the better striker? Aldo. Who has better wrestling? Jones. Who is the better ground technician? Aldo.

If these two were the same size and had all of the same measurables, the betting line would favor Aldo. Jones is still developing his striking and ground game. His length and creativity are what make him so devastating.

This is no slight to Jones. He is absolutely one of the world's best fighters, but when you look at how they have done in their division it is Aldo's reign that is more impressive.

Apr 27, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Jon Jones  during a press conference after UFC 159 at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jones has defended the title six times. However, only four of those six were against fighters ranked No. 5 or better, and rarely did he take on the top contender. Currently, he has only faced two of the Top Five (based on the UFC's official rankings) in his division.

Aldo? He has currently defeated each fighter that is ranked in the Top Five of his division. Based on ranking alone, he has defended the title against top-ranked competition time and again. Rarely has he defended against a fighter outside of the Top Five.

Aldo is more technically sound than Jones, Aldo has done more work in his division, and Aldo deserves to be recognized as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport today.