Over the last couple years there have been many debates as to who is the best mixed martial artist in the world. Although the list has been constantly changing with new champions coming and going, the one consistency is that George St-Pierre and Anderson Silva usually top the list, especially more recently.
There have been ongoing debates as to who deserves the top spot between the two so this article should put to rest any doubts regarding the fact that George St-Pierre is the best pound for pound fighter in mixed martial arts today.
Unlike other articles I have read, I am not going to use a certain number of categories and rank which fighter is better at each category and then whoever won more categories is the better fighter. Instead, I’m just going to state my piece.
One of the main arguments regarding Anderson Silva earning the top spot is that St-Pierre is not as consistent as Anderson Silva. GSP’s last loss was nearly four years ago, which came to Matt Serra, in contrast to Anderson Silva’s last loss being nearly six years ago.
I did not know that what happened to a fighter four years ago determined how talented he is today. Sure, maybe four years ago Anderson Silva was a better fighter than St-Pierre, that does not necessarily mean that he still is today. I understand that there is an argument about consistency but really, if a person were to dedicate four years of their life to training to be better at anything, say playing guitar for example, do you think they would be the same or would they have evolved?
Sure both St-Pierre and Silva have trained but with only St-Pierre have we seen a growth and evolution in what he brings to the table. In his last fight against Koscheck, we saw a huge improvement in the boxing of St-Pierre, where in Anderson Silva’s last bout against Sonnen, we saw what we already know, that he has no wrestling game. Throughout the last four years, GSP’s growth has put his level of mixed martial arts above the level of Anderson Silva.
I would agree that it can be argued that Anderson Silva has been more consistent than GSP over the last six years, but that is a statistic built around proving a point for Anderson Silva. For example, what if I asked, who has been more consistent over the last four years? Well they would be equal. Another example, what if I asked, who has been more consistent since December 30, 2004? Well that would be St-Pierre with a record of 14-1 compared to Anderson Silva’s record of 15-2. So who determines that we look at consistency as how they have performed in the last six years?
Also, why look at their last loss? Why not look at their last win? Anderson Silva gets dominated through five rounds and miraculously slaps on a triangle in a come-from-behind wonder victory. GSP dominates Koscheck the whole way through the fight and easily retains his title against one of the top guys in the division. The best fighter in the world should not be dominated and have to come from behind to win a fight.
It is not hard to cut out only a portion of overall statistics to get the result you’re looking for so if that’s the case, then why not look at their overall record? As far as ratios go, 21-2 is a much, much better record than 27-4. So if we look at overall consistency, not just consistency over the last six years, well St-Pierre’s got it.
Not only has St-Pierre been more consistent, he’s also been fighting against much tougher opponents in a much tougher division. The UFC’s welterweight division is arguably the toughest in MMA with the likes of Fitch, Koscheck and Alves where the middleweight division is easily the UFC’s weakest.
Sure Silva jumped weight and fought at 205, but who did he fight? Irvin and Griffin. No need to say anything about James Irvin but keep in mind that Forrest Griffin is not only overrated, but is also a perfect matchup stylistically for Silva. Griffin fights using heart and continuously pushing forward. That is easily the worst game plan to have against a counter-puncher and sure enough, well we all knew what was going to happen.
Not to mention, Silva has yet to clean out his division. He still has Vitor Belfort and even Yushin Okami, who by the way gave Anderson Silva his most recent loss, in the UFC’s division. GSP has cleaned out everyone except the newly-signed Jake Shields, but really how could Shields possibly win that fight? The only way would be to take GSP to the ground but that won’t be too easy against one of the best wrestlers in the game.
Keep in mind that there are other middleweights out there, like Jacare and even Mousasi, who has fought at 185 before, who in my opinion stand a really good chance against Silva. Who’s out there at welterweight? Nick Diaz? He’s one of my favorite fighters and I think he’s one of the best in the division but I think we can all agree that he does not match up well against GSP.
Overall, Anderson Silva has two blaring weaknesses. His wrestling is one of the worst and he gasses. You put any wrestler in the ring with him and he’s going to struggle as he has done in his only two fights against wrestlers. He also gassed in all of his fights that made it past two rounds since losing to Ryo Chonan. Keep in mind that those fights, including Maia and Leites, had very little or even no action. With the amount of weight that he cuts, it’s no surprise that he gasses in later rounds.
GSP, on the other hand, is probably the most well-rounded martial artist in the game and is one of the smartest game planners out there, not to mention his cardio is second to none.
Another argument I have come across is that Anderson Silva is better because he finishes fights where GSP’s style is lay and pray. My response to that is: what does finishing fights have to do with making a fighter good or not? It's about winning not about entertainment value. If it is in fact entertainment value you are looking for, GSP is still more fun to watch than Anderson Silva punching the feet of Demian Maia lying on his back.
The only thing that Anderson Silva has on GSP, is striking. Silva is one of the best strikers out there but that one aspect of his game doesn’t make up for all numerous areas of the game that GSP dominates him in. Also, keep in mind that GSP’s striking game has been constantly improving as we saw in his last fight against Koscheck, although it is not near the level of Silva yet.
Taking into account everything including skills, strengths and weaknesses, statistics, resume, strength of opponents, etc., GSP is the decisive victor and is deserving of the number one pound for pound spot. Is it even possible to disagree?