It wasn't always pretty, but Georges St-Pierre and Jose Aldo got the job done and that's all that counts in the pound-for-pound debate.
But for some reason, people don't seem to get that.
Georges St-Pierre and Jose Aldo have both come under fire for their performances at UFC 129.
St-Pierre has been criticized for playing it safe and not finishing Jake Shields, while Aldo is being criticized for gassing out and losing the last round.
St-Pierre's supporters have defended him by saying that his eye injury prevented him from fighting to his full potential, while Aldo's camp has made excuses about illness and weight cut issues.
I don't care about the explanations and excuses, but in the end they're not required.
As far as the pound-for-pound rankings are concerned, all that matters is winning, and doing it over top competition. In the case of Aldo in St-Pierre, what they did more than satisfies those conditions.
Jake Shields was on a 15-fight win streak and had not lost in six years. He was generally considered to be a pound-for-pound quality fighter.
It doesn't matter that he was theoretically an easy style matchup for St-Pierre. Before Anderson Silva fought Chael Sonnen, people thought that Sonnen was an easy style matchup for Silva. That's irrelevant in the pound-for-pound debate.
What matters is that Shields had an absolutely stellar record, and St-Pierre beat him.
It's ridiculous to say that St-Pierre goes down in the P4P rankings as a result of this win. If anything he should go up in the rankings because Anderson Silva's latest opponent, Vitor Belfort, isn't nearly as accomplished as Shields.
In the case of Aldo, it's simply another win over an elite opponent.
Because the accomplishments of featherweights aren't as deep as those of their lightweight contemporaries, I still have Frankie Edgar ranked higher than Aldo, but Aldo doesn't go down in the list just because his recent win was less than perfect.
It's simply the case that guys Aldo has beaten aren't as accomplished as the guys Edgar has defeated. BJ Penn is more accomplished than Faber, Sean Sherk is more accomplished than Mike Brown, and so forth.
And so, after UFC 129, the pound-for-pound rankings sees little changed. Here is my own personal top five:
1. Georges St-Pierre
2. Anderson Silva
3. Frank Edgar
4. Jose Aldo
5. Jon Jones
If you have St-Pierre as No. 2, that's fine, because their accomplishments are fairly equal, but St-Pierre doesn't go down just because he didn't finish another P4P fighter.
I'm sure Edgar will be slotted lower in other lists, but I have him No. 3 on the backs of big wins over Penn, Sherk, Jim Miller, Hermes Franca, and Mark Bocek. That's a deceptively strong resume.
Aldo deserves his No. 4 ranking, and though Jon Jones looked like a titan in capturing Mauricio Rua's light-heavyweight belt, he simply hasn't notched a lot of victories over elite competition, which is all that matters.
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