Fedor Or Anderson Silva: Who Is Number One Pound For Pound?

Bryan TraffordSenior Analyst IAugust 6, 2008

Pound for Pound-A term used to describe a fighter's overall value in relation to fighters in different weight classes.

Anderson Silva sits atop most pound for pound lists. His overall record is (22-4) and he is undefeated in the UFC. He is the current UFC middleweight champion and a former Cage Rage and Shooto Middleweight champion.

Fedor Emelianenko is recognized by many sources to be the world's best heavyweight. His overall record stands at (29-1-1) with his only loss being due to a cut. He is the Former Pride heavyweight champion, and holds two victories over current UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

I asked several of Bleacher Report's top MMA writers for their opinion on who was number one Pound for Pound, and here is what they had to say.

Kevin Curran wrote:

Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest fighter pound for pound in the world right now and I believe him to be the greatest fighter of all time. His legendary uncaring demeanor has struck fear into opponents more than even Wandy’ wrist roll, his cool under fire attitude has baffled opponents, (Just ask Kevin Randleman. Most people thought Fedor was dead, but he was alive and well enough to submit Randleman without seeming to miss a beat.) He has thwarted takedowns by Olympic wrestlers like Mark Coleman, he has eluded knockout power strikers like Cro Cop and Sylvia., he has avoided submissions by the best jui jitsu has to offer like Big Nog. Fedor is an unfailing source of wins and brutality in a changing MMA landscape. Fedor even managed to survive without a loss in eight years of MMA competition with the best in the world not counting the Kohsaka debacle. That is unheralded and cannot be ignored. With a résumé like that you can’t call him anything but the best.

Jon Grilz wrote:

The best pound for pound fighter? Why is there even a debate? Fedor is the best, bar none. Not only was he able to take out Tim Sylvia in under a minute, let's look at the simple fact of his size. He is perhaps the smallest heavyweight in the world. He has only lost one fight and that was due to a cut on his eyelid. And, well, he is Fedor. No one has been able to knock him off.

Silva on the other hand found his success in the UFC. It makes you wonder, if he stepped back in the ring would be be as good? I can't imagine it matters for Fedor, he beats you in the middle of the ring, which isn't any different from the middle of a cage.

Forget pound for pound. Fedor is the best, period.

Jad Semaan wrote:

First off, P4P does not mean who would win if both fighters were the same weight or size. Fedor would beat Silva if they weighed they same, but that is on an absolute scale, and is the complete opposite of what P4P means. P4P is a relative measurement. All other things being equal, a heavier fighter will defeat a lighter fighter, due to his size advantage. However, the smaller opponent more skilled P4P, because he can match what the other man can do at a lighter weight (this is why in PRIDE FC, a draw would go to the smaller man, like Belfort vs. Herring). Analogy: a 100 lb. pound man presses 200 lbs., while a 200 lb. man presses 300 lbs. The bigger man lifts a higher absolute weight, but the smaller man is stronger P4P, since he lifts a weight that is twice his size. The concept of per capita income also works as an analogy here, with some countries having a higher absolute GDP but lower wealth per citizen as compared to other nations.

P4P also takes into account the recent performances of each fighter in his respective weight class. Fedor is technically undefeated, but has fought one top 10 opponent (Sylvia) in the last three years. Five of Silva’s last six opponents have been in the top 10. Of course, contract disputes and the demise of PRIDE FC made finding Fedor a top opponent more difficult. And he would still beat anybody you put in front of him. But until he beats more top heavyweights in convincing fashion, the nod right now should go to Silva, since he has been just as dominant at middleweight against relatively better fighters recently.

Conclusion: Fedor #1 absolute fighter in the world, Silva #1 P4P fighter.

Ryan Wales wrote:

Trying to describe why Anderson Silva is the best pound for pound fighter on the planet in a paragraph is like describing a rainbow without using colors, but here goes nothing. Since fighting for the UFC Silva is 7-0, with all seven bouts ending in two rounds or less, showing Silva has that “killer instinct”. Pair that with fact he has the best well rounded skill set in the game and that’s a nasty combination. Add in the momentum of an eight fight win streak and you’re starting to build something special. He has a dash of confidence, a bit of seeming invincibility and a sprinkle of intelligence. You add all those things together and you get a recipe for the best pound for pound  fighter in the world, and that is exactly what Anderson Silva is.

Yours Truly wrote:

I'm gonna have to disagree with Jad on this one. I think pound for pound means EXACTLY who would win if both fighters were the same size. I believe if they were in the same weight class, Fedor would win by ground n pound decision or even submission. I agree that Anderson has been fighting better competition as of late, but I also thought he was starting to get pretty big for 185. Lets see if he can duplicate that feat at 205.

As for Fedor he has always been a small heavyweight beating larger men, which should give extra credit to his wins. I also take into account the fact that if UFC had signed Fedor last year, by all indications he would be the current UFC heavyweight champion and still undefeated. I imagine they would be hyping him up as the best pound for pound fighter and not Anderson Silva in that case. We all know in the world of MMA that once the UFC marketing machine gets behind you...


The verdict seems to be split, at least amongst Bleacher Report writers. Some of us think that Anderson Silva has been facing stiffer competition so he should be number one. Some of us think that Fedor would beat Anderson head to head if all things were equal, so he should be number one.

Anderson Silva has recently stepped up to 205 to find more challengers. Fedor has potential fights with Josh Barnett, Andrei Arlovski, and Randy Couture looming on the horizon. Depending on how they fare against these challenges, this question may answer itself soon enough.

Who is your number one pound for pound fighter? Is it Fedor? Anderson Silva? or is it someone else such as GSP or BJ Penn?


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