(Somebody kill that motherfucker.)
It’s Thanksgiving today, the most gluttonous of all holidays. So while we play touch football in the yard and gorge ourselves on turkey and potato-based dishes, you can enjoy a little Ben-on-Ben action, with debates covering everything from the future of the heavyweight top ten, the aftermatch of the Jon Fitch debacle, how we prefer to clog our arteries every year around this time, and more. Enjoy.
Let’s say Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira beats Frank Mir next month (obviously). But let’s also say Brock Lesnar manages to beat Big Nog in the belt-unification match next year. If this nightmare scenario were to become a reality, would you rank Lesnar as the #1 heavyweight in the world, or is it still Fedor until he dies or gets beat?
Goldstein: Christ — it depresses me that we’re actually discussing Brock Lesnar as the potential #1 heavyweight in the world. Do not let us down, Nog!
Anyway, I’m going to say Lesnar would have to be placed at #2 in that situation, not #1, and it’s really just on general principle. No fighter with a 4-1 record should be ranked #1 — even if they’ve beaten two top-five fighters back-to-back — unless they’ve beaten the previous #1 fighter in the world in their division (Emelianenko, in this case). Of course if Andrei Arlovski beats Fedor in January, things go into flux a bit, but I’d say Arlovski moves into the #1 spot at that point, and keeps it even if Lesnar goes on to beat Nogueira. (Does your brain hurt yet from this hypothetical bullshit, or is it just me?)
But who-beat-who-when stats are just one aspect of creating rankings — the other part is infuriatingly subjective, and has to do with talent, and personal opinions on how a certain top-10 fighter would do against other top-10 fighters. And if you want my opinion, here goes: Fedor Emelianenko is worlds more talented than Brock Lesnar at this point. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with M-1’s bluster that Brock wouldn’t last a round with Fedor, but I strongly doubt he’d get his hand raised at the end of the fight. So how could I in good conscience call Lesnar the best heavyweight in the world, even if he does follow his win over Couture with a win over Nogueira?
Fowlkes: There’s a lot of inherent Lesnar hate in this discussion already, but since I’m willing to believe it has more to do with his record than his persona I’ll go along with it. But let’s admit our bias here. We don’t want Lesnar to be #1 because he’s still an MMA rookie who came out of the WWE and we’re afraid that if he climbs to the top so quickly, on sheer size and strength alone, not only will the diatribes that show up on the WWE website really get out of hand, but it will become harder to convince anti-MMA jerks that this is truly a nuanced sport.