St. Pierre vs Alves
One of the arguments that will never be settled is over the world's best pound-for-pound fighter.
With so few fighters who possess the ability to fight in multiple weight classes, the P4P debate seems to rage on no matter what accomplishments these great champions seem to achieve.
With the talk of a P4P super-fight between George St. Pierre and Anderson Silva still in the stages of infancy, we will have to stick to lists, rankings and debates about who the best P4P fighter is. However there are multiple champions and fighters in the sport who have earned the right to throw their hat in mix so to speak. In this list we will take a look at who some of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world are today and who may lay claim as the top P4P fighter in the near future.
Without question, one of the greatest fighters in MMA history and maybe the best P4P fighter in the world right now, Anderson Silva has backed away from no man. Having already broken the UFC record for title defenses (eight) and most consecutive wins in the UFC (13), Silva has established himself as one of the best and most well-rounded fighters in the game today.
Having knocked out former UFC champion Vitor Belfort in the first round at UFC 126, Silva has put to rest any claims that he is nearing the end of his career and hopes of a P4P matchup against WW champion George St. Pierre is still a possibility.
Silva has been criticized before for not finishing fights but no one can argue about his abilities or his P4P claim as he has fought in multiple weight classes over the past few years, winning all of his bouts. Some of Silva’s most notable wins have come against former champions in both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions including victories over the likes of Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin, Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson. The only man that stands in his way of being known as the best overall P4P fighter in the world is George St. Pierre, but if we are lucky we won’t have to wait much longer.
Aldo, the current FW champion of the UFC has built up an impressive 18-1 career record including 12 wins via KO and has not lost a fight in over five years.
Aldo has made a name for himself by fighting anyone and everyone who remains in the featherweight division and has also become a fan favorite for his exciting style and his ability to finish fights in dramatic fashion, as seen in his first round KO of veteran fighter Cub Swanson. Aldo put his full skill set on display against former champion and fan favorite Uriah Faber in April of 2010. In a five round decimation, Aldo methodically picked apart the former champion with a barrage of some of the hardest kicks in the business. Halfway through the fight Faber could hardly stand on one leg and would have been finished had Aldo not pulled back in the final round of the title fight.
Though Aldo is still very young by MMA standards (24) he has not backed away from any challenge and promises to be a superstar in MMA for a long time to come.
The only person in this list that does not currently hold a title is Jon Fitch but do not let that fool you, as Fitch has been one of the most dominant fighters in the last five years. Having compiled a career record of 23-3-1 including a record of 13-1 in the UFC, Fitch suffered his only loss in the UFC against current WW champion George St. Pierre.
Some claim that Fitch is not as exciting to watch or he doesn’t finish fights but this has not stopped him from beating almost every single opponent placed in front of him over the last five years. Some of his most notable wins have come against Thiago Alves, Diego Sanchez and Paulo Thiago.
Fitch has also received criticism for his unwillingness to fight certain teammates such as Josh Koscheck, but this has only been under hypothetical situations and if given the chance to fight for the title this may not be true.
Fitch is known as a grinder in MMA and this has been his only downfall in gaining another title shot against the current champion, GSP. With the possibility that GSP may move up to Middleweight in the near future Fitch stands to remain one of the top 170-pounders in the world and will eventually get his chance to become champion.
The current LHW champion of the UFC is Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is one of the best P4P fighters in the world and competes in one of the most competitive divisions in all of MMA.
The former Pride Grand Prix champion has had his troubles with injuries but that has not dulled his skills in any way over the past few years. After losing his first UFC match to Forrest Griffin in late 2007, Shogun bounced back to defeat former UFC champions Mark Coleman and Chuck Liddell, the latter which earned him a title shot against the unbeaten Lyoto Machida. Shogun would lose the title match via decision but due to a public outcry that brought MMA judging into the limelight, Rua was granted an immediate rematch by UFC president, Dana White.
Rua wasted no time and took no chances in their rematch as he knocked out the champion in the first round to claim the UFC LHW title. Shogun became just the second person to win a Pride Grand Prix and also claim a UFC championship in his career. Many arguments can be made for the P4P claim but fighting in the LHW division along with compiling a 19-4 career record that Shogun has built up over the years is indisputable.
Holding victories over many former and current champions (Machida, Rampage, Overeem, Randelman) as well as some UFC hall of famers (Liddell, Coleman) has allowed Shogun to put together one of the toughest fighter resumes in all of MMA. Rua will have a chance to solidify his claim as one of the top P4P fighters in the world at UFC 128 as he defends his title against rising star, Jon Jones.
The current WW champion and UFC poster boy has been on a dominant run over the past several years and is arguably the best P4P fighter in the world today. GSP boasts a career record of 21-2 and is currently on an eight-fight win streak that dates back to 2007.
St. Pierre’s only two losses both occurred during title fights to former champions Matt Hughes and Matt Sera, which have been avenged. St. Pierre who has been fighting in the UFC since 2004 has developed himself into one of the most well-rounded fighters in the history of MMA and has taken his wrestling to another level as seen in his domination of fighters such as Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck.
There are some who claim that GSP lacks the ability or the will to finish his opponents but ask anyone who has ever fought him and you will certainly hear a different story. GSP, who is set to face Jake Shields in late April, will again put his title on the line and with a victory against Shields the MMA world will again be demanding the dream bout against the other P4P king, Anderson Silva.
No matter what direction his career heads in the future GSP will go down as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history and may very well be remembered as the best P4P fighter to ever step into the Octagon.