MMA's Elite 10: The Pound-for-Pound Best
With UFC 129 in the rear-view mirror and no major MMA event for the next two weeks, I thought now would be a good time to look at the MMA pound-for-pound best fighters.
Both GSP and Jose Aldo fought hard to make their cases for that No. 1 spot; however, the performances of Jake Shields and Mark Hominick proved tougher than some expected.
With that said, here is my take on the top 10 fighters in Mixed Martial Arts right now.
1. Anderson Silva
Simply unstoppable, the Spider is on a UFC-record 13-fight win streak and has defended his title eight consecutive times.
His last fight saw one of the most memorable knockouts in recent memory when he front-kicked Vitor Belfort to the ground in the first round of his title defense at UFC 126 in February.
His next fight will be against Japanese star Yushin Okami, to whom Anderson has a loss, albeit via disqualification after an illegal upkick rendered Okami unconscious.
Silva will look to avenge that loss and move on to a possible superfight with Georges St. Pierre, which looks to be in doubt, as both fighters seem reluctant to move weight divisions at this point.
2. Georges St. Pierre
The welterweight champ beat Jake Shields in a main event that most people would say didn’t end what was a great night for the UFC and MMA in general in Toronto.
St. Pierre looked hesitant to truly engage with Shields throughout the fight, and while he did have Shields in trouble at times in the fight, couldn’t capitalise and finish the bout.
It has been four straight decisions for GSP, although he thoroughly dominated Josh Koscheck at his own game, and almost any other fighter would have tapped or suffered a broken limb had Dan Hardy not been made of rubber.
It’s likely that eventually once GSP is fully recovered that his next opponent could be the winner of the Anthony Johnson vs. Nate Marquardt fight or a possible matchup against Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz in a unification bout.
3. Dominick Cruz
Possibly the most underrated guy in MMA right now, the bantamweight champion possesses a 17-1 record with the names of Charlie Valencia, Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez (twice).
Cruz is on an eight-fight win streak and despite having 10 of his 17 victories come by decision, he doesn’t face the same pressure as GSP.
Cruz will look to avenge his single career loss to Urijah Faber in his UFC debut at 132 in July.
4. Jose Aldo
His fights against Mark Hominick and Urijah Faber showed that he’s got some of the baddest, most devastating leg kicks in the game.
But Hominick, who looked like he was growing another brain by the end of the fight, showed true heart and determination, made Aldo look tired for the first time in his career.
There are reports out there that Aldo was not fully 100 percent, but who is in MMA? Aldo didn’t seem to make any excuses, either.
Rumour has it that Aldo will face Chad Mendes, a strong wrestler, in his next bout. Mendes might have Aldo in some trouble; then again, we haven't really seen the featherweight champion utilize his black-belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
5. Gilbert Melendez
The Strikeforce lightweight believes he’s the best in the weight class, and I believe him. He’s been the most convincing of any of the lightweight fighters around at the moment after a vicious TKO win against Tatsuya Kawajiri.
The Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu team has been on a roll of late with several champions in their ranks. It will be interesting to see what Melendez can do against UFC opposition, as the UFC lightweight division is possibly the most stacked in all of MMA right now with several title contenders.
Outside of Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, the UFC also has the winner of Clay Guida vs. Anthony Pettis to contend for the title and the unstoppable Jim Miller vs. former WEC champion Ben Henderson.
6. Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Santos
We don’t discriminate here. The women’s MMA game, although looked down upon by many, is still a prevalent part of MMA, with Strikeforce and Bellator FC leading the ranks in terms of quality female fighters.
‘Cyborg’ has looked invincible ever since she stepped into the cage, earning victories against Gina Carano, Marloes Coenen and Jan ‘Cuddles’ Finney, who had no business being in the cage with Santos.
And if you don’t think that women’s fights are entertaining, 80 percent of Santos’ wins have come via TKO.
7. Jon Jones
At 23 years old, he became the youngest UFC champion ever, beating Shogun Rua convincingly at UFC 128, as well as wins against Stephen Bonnar, Brandon Vera, Vladimir Matyushenko and Ryan Bader.
Jones' unique striking style and high-level wrestling makes for matchup problems with almost every light-heavyweight fighter out there today.
A thumb injury will sideline him for a while as he awaits the winner of the Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis bout, but the way he has finished fights, it seems that ‘Bones’ will be on this list for the next few years.
8. Cain Velasquez
The heavyweight champ now awaits the winner of Dos Santos vs. Carwin, as former champ and TUF coach Brock Lesnar pulled out due to a recurrence of diverticulitis, a disease that previously kept him out of MMA for over a year and threatened to not only end his career but his life.
Although I feel bad for Brock and wish him a speedy recovery, this match up makes for a better contest, pitting two of the best heavyweight strikers against each other for a shot at the title.
9. Frankie Edgar
The UFC lightweight champion has his work cut out for him in a packed division where several fighters are clamouring for a title shot, unfortunately for fans, Edgar's second rematch against Grey Maynard scheduled for UFC 130 has been called off due to injuries to both fighters.
You could probably make a case for putting Grey Maynard’s name here considering he actually owns a victory against the UFC lightweight champ which is Edgar's only career loss, however that was back in 2008, when Osama Bin Laden was alive and George W. Bush was still the US President, how things have changed...
10. Jake Shields
Lost his first fight in over six years against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 129 in Toronto, however looked better in his loss than GSP did in victory.
Shields in the judges’ book won two rounds and managed to exert some significant damage on the title holder, it’s likely that the UFC will pit Shields against Jon Fitch in a number one contenders fight as a rematch with BJ Penn doesn’t seem like a fight that UFC fans want to see again.