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Open Discussion: A Time of Chaos in the Land of Pound-for-Pound Rankings

(Gentlemen, please…you’re *both* wrong.)

The last time I put serious effort into crafting an MMA pound-for-pound list, Anderson Silva had just Jedi’d the shit out of Forrest Griffin at UFC 101, Georges St. Pierre was fresh off his domination of Thiago Alves — on a torn groin, no less — and Fedor Emelianenko had once again proven his invincibility earlier that year, knocking Andrei Arlovski out of mid-air at Day of Reckoning. Unable to rank one fighter over the other with anything close to objectivity, I wrote the following: "Whoever has the most recent awe-inspiring, damn-near-inhuman performance gets to be #1."

A lot has changed since then. In 2010, so far: BJ Penn lost his first match at lightweight in over eight years. Anderson Silva proved that he has no desire to finish fights at his natural weight class. GSP couldn’t put away Dan Hardy in five rounds on a healthy groin. Fedor Emelianenko hasn’t competed at all. Miguel Torres lost his second fight in a row. Lyoto Machida has been sidelined, still waiting for the rematch of a fight he probably should have lost on the scorecards, which effectively put a halt to his "Machida Era" hype.

Yes, I’ll update the very dusty CagePotato Power Rankings soon, you have my word. But coming up with a new set of P4P rankings is a hairy proposition, considering that all of the usual suspects haven’t had any awe-inspiring, damn-near-inhuman performances in a long time.

Following his loss at UFC 112, BJ Penn called Fedor Emelianenko the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and I’m willing to agree with him by default. Who else has the same "deadly in all positions, at all times" quality as the Last Emperor? Well, other than Penn himself, who just lost a fight against a massive underdog. Jose Aldo, maybe? If the Brazilian dynamo can blow through Urijah Faber next week, it definitely puts him in the top echelon of pound-for-pound consideration.

Of course, you could just as easily put GSP at #1, particularly if you were wowed by his shutout of Dan Hardy last month. Rush has been utterly dominant in his weight class, even if he’s not a guaranteed finisher with lethal standup. At this point, I would certainly put him ahead of Anderson Silva, whose performances depend completely on his opponents, and who has seemingly lost interest in everything but flashy striking. Penn’s loss should obviously affect his place on the P4P list, but a part of me wants to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The bottom line is, it’s a very chaotic time for pound-for-pound rankings in MMA, so I felt like opening up a dialogue with the Potato Nation. How do you see the pound-for-pound list right now? Which criteria are most important to you? If Jake Shields manages to get past Dan Henderson tomorrow, does he deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the fighters named above? Shoot us your Top 5 P4P list in the comments section below, or a full Top 10 if you’re feeling particularly ambitious. Remember, there are no wrong answers — though if you rank Frankie Edgar ahead of Fedor, you’ll definitely be testing our patience.


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WILLIEX- April 19, 2010 at 9:23 am
ok ok..... Guys stop with Fedor already he wouldn’t get passed Velasquez in the UFC
The p4p list should be made up of fighters that dominate top competition no matter how boring. After all this isn’t a list of the most entertaining fighter list. Here are my picks.

1.Anderson Sylva- he toys with top competition and makes the look stupid at two weight divisions! No other fighter does that. Ok so he show boats all the greats do. ( Ali, Jordan, Mayweather, Kobe, etc ) I personally think he will sell more ppvs when he becomes the villain.

2.GSP- he’s a king pin in his weight class. So he’s a little boring to the KO obsessed American light beer fan. But the technique he displays in the cage is amazing and beautiful to watch.

3.Jose Aldo- entertaining and dominant, he destroys in the WEC which has the best fighters @ his weight.

4.Cain Velazquez- ok ok I know I know. But it’s a p4p and Velazquez competes at heavy weight which covers 205-265 which a lot of those guys @ heavyweight cut from 300lbs Cain walks around @240 and competes there not to mention hes undefeated and in line for a title shot.

5.Christine Cyborg Santos – she’s hands down the best fighter in a whole gender forget just a weight class.
Ace- April 18, 2010 at 7:45 pm
I would put GSP as number 1.

Hes beat more guys that others would consider top ten pound per pound then any of these other fighters.

Gsp beat...

Dudes who are ranked/were ranked top ten (Bj's loss really mixed things up).

I mean, fuck it. On what ground can anyone else be ranked higher than GSP? Certainly not because they can beat GSP. If that were the case rank Lesnar above GSP because he can beat him. But Lesnar is certainly not better in any aspect of the game. So for everyone who says Silva should be above GSP, take that into consideration... This is pound per pound, not who will win in a fight. If silva drops down and beats GSP then rank him number 1, but until then, he is a weight class above GSP and you can't say "Well he can beat him in a fight!" with that statement meaning anything at all.
Dagnut- April 17, 2010 at 2:31 am
Had a read through the comments and maybe its just me no one else commented , but look the the size difference between the 2!! the fuck is Silva going to safely make 170..I know penn is 155(which i thought he looked pretty gaunt at against edgar?) but he's natural walk around fit 170...sliva is crazy if he thinks he can maintain any power or stamina at that weight.
ithertz- April 16, 2010 at 5:34 pm
fedor is always fighting guys that outweigh him by 20 - 30 have anderson silva stay at 185 but fight a guy that weighs 205 or more and see what happens
Ryan Meleedy- April 16, 2010 at 4:58 pm
1.) GSP
2.) Fedor (normally this would be for AS, but that last one puts him in third)
3.) anderson silva(AS) hes still the shit, face it. hes just bored.
4.) jose aldo. face it(again), he would probably beat BJ
5.)BJ Penn... i got nothing to say about him right now, im discusted
6.)Maurico Rua.he lost to griffen...THATS IT!!! since pride anyway.he didnt lose to
7.)Lyoto Machida.boring, but been a badass latly.minus the rua fight that he lost
8.)GAYgard Mousasi. hes a badass.but i had to make a gay joke.come on, its funny
9.)John Fitch. hes a beast. face it(!). lots of 170lb-ers on this list.

10.) is a tie between koscheck, alves, and carwin. i know alves beat koshcheck, but i dont think he could do it again. and carwin BARELY deserves it. sure hes good, but are any of willing to call him a p4p yet? or do we all think hes gonna get butt f*cked but lesnar? thats what i thought. also i would not include faber, as he WILL lose to aldo, and i cannot think of any other heavyweights that deserve a p4p ranking. i guess dan hendo deserves a mention. would prob rank him 11th or twelth. also in thirteenth would be aoki, and fourteenth goes to rampage. and fuck you, im not going higher than 14. thats just re-dick-you-less!!! god we will miss you FOWLKES!!!
robthom- April 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm
" ...Anderson Silva, whose performances depend completely on his opponents, and who has seemingly lost interest in everything but flashy striking."

Awesome summation of the silva situation right now, in one sentence.

Truly "'nuff said".

RwilsonR- April 16, 2010 at 4:15 pm
For my rankings, I still can't choose between Fedor, GSP, or Silva. GSP dominates everyone, but doesn't finish nearly as many. Silva dominates everyone, but is clearly crazy and only finishes when he wants to. Fedor looked susprisingly vulnerable against both Arlovski and Rogers, but then convincingly knocked both of them to hell. It just is too hard. Oh well. I'll just pick them and not bitch out of making a decision.

1. Silva - despite his particular brand of crazy, he looks untouchable, and he pretty much won a perfect fight against a former belt-holder in the division above his.
2. GSP - has consistently fought tougher opposition than pretty much anyone for years; even before he was champion he practically cleaned out the division. Hasn't lost a round in years, and outperforms great fighters at their own game. Looks consistently better every time, besides his strange desire to fight a BJJ-only fight against Hardy.
3. Fedor - the best HW ever. I only put him at #3 because he hasn't come anywhere close to cleaning out his division, doesn't consistently fight the very best, and doesn't seem like he'll be fighting the next generation of HW fighters that are now dominating the UFC anytime soon. Also, hasn't dominated every second of his last several fights like the other top two have.
4. Lyoto Machida - a clear number 4 after dominating performances over nearly everyone he has fought, but a lackluster questionable decision in his last fight.
5. Shane Carwin - a giant, I know, but he is undefeated, has utterly destroyed all opponents, and has wins over Mir and Gonzaga.
6. Cain Velasquez - another HW, but has had only a few moments of vulnerability in posting wins over Big Nog, Rothwell, and Kongo.
7. Frankie Edgar - another tough pick with his loss to Maynard, but he did just dethrone Penn, which should count for a lot, and also posts top five divisional wins over Sherk and Griffin. No dominating performances, though.
8. Jose Aldo - looked awesome in defeating Mike Thomas Brown, but lacks other major names, so his competition is the only thing keeping him this low on my list. If he beats Faber, he probably jumps up into the top 5.
9. Junior Dos Santos - yet another HW, but he has crushed opponents including Gonzaga, Yvel, CroCop and Werdum.
10. Jon Fitch - Has only really lost to GSP in 7 years and 21 fights, but he lost so convincingly that he can't be above some of these others that are undefeated or haven't lost nearly as recently.
RwilsonR- April 16, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Sorry I'm late to the discussion, but hear me out.

Pound-for-pound is not a divisional ranking, and so ALL fights should be taken into account, not just his fights at LW. And everyone talks this nonsense about how Penn hadn't lost at LW in 8 years, but what kind of statistic is that? For nearly 5 of those 8 years he wasn't fighting at LW. In the meantime, since leaving LW he racked up 4 losses before his current one to Edgar.

And this is a PFP debate, so you might be able to excuse his loss to Machida which was way out of his weight range, but his 2 losses to GSP and one loss to Hughes at WW don't just get swept under the rug because you like the Penn. The idea that just because you perceive the Welterweights to be bigger than Penn does not change the fact that everyone weighed well within the bounds of the WW division when those fights happened. Penn didn't weigh under 155 when he faced them. He weighed 170 for most of them, and 167 for one fight, which is well within the range, so those count when considering rankings. He was a WW fighting other Welterweights.

If you just want to do it on perception, consider this: Matt Hughes was clearly smaller than GSP in his two losses to him, and was dwarfed by Thiago Alves (who came in 6 pounds heavy and missed the WW limit). Should we still consider Hughes as a PFP favorite because if you discount the GSP and Alves losses because they were clearly heavier, then you can say that Hughes hasn't *really* lost in over 6 years, and has only one loss in his actual weight range in over 9 years and 22 fights?

The truth is, Penn has lost several fights and people just discount his losses due to excuses.
-He loses to Machida, but it doesn't count since Machida is much bigger.
-He loses to GSP, but that doesn't count since it was a BS decision and BJ is really a natural LW (despite the fact that he looked every bit as big as GSP in this fight - but that was because he was chubby, which only adds to his excuse that he is only a LW fighting at WW, so it really shouldn't count).
-He loses to Hughes - well, that doesn't count since he broke a rib (that mysteriously went unchecked by the ringside athletic commission doctors, and is only verifiable by his own postings). Plus, Hughes is a WW and Penn is really a LW, so it doesn't count.
-He loses to GSP again, and this time is supposedly better trained than ever before, but that doesn't count because GSP was clearly bigger than him and possibly had a quarter-ounce of vaseline rubbed on his back.
-He loses to Edgar, but that doesn't count since again it was clearly a BS decision and BJ might have had the sniffles, and we all know BJ is the better fighter and would win the rematch (nevermind that if BJ's losses at WW shouldn't count because he is a natural LW, then shouldn't we doubly count his loss to Edgar against him because by that logic Penn was beaten by a natural Featherweight?).

No other fighter on the PFP list would be given nearly the leeway for having that many losses, whether inside or outside their "natural" weight. If Anderson Silva went and got smoked by Forrest Griffin at 205, would he still be at the top of the list? He might still be on it after one loss, but not in the top 5. For Penn, this is not a LW ranking, this is PFP, and all wins and all losses should count. Feelings about how you "just know" a fighter is better than their record indicates do not count. Based on a fair ranking of records, BJ belongs nowhere near a PFP list anymore, and would have to work very hard to get back on it.
ppaulino28- April 16, 2010 at 3:27 pm
"BigWill83 Says:
Fri, 04/16/2010 - 07:51
Anyone else notice that Chael Sonnen is right...Anderson spoke perfect english and even yelled back when BJ was leaving. Unless he knows the proper phrases, the guy is a bigger douche for putting on, "no peaki ingles" after a fight"

Anderson Silva doesnt talk after the fights because of his douche manager Ed Soares not only he doenst let Anderson talk he doesnt translate what Silva is saying properly he completly changes the question for Silva and if he doesnt like Silvas answer he makes up an answer that he thinks is better so Ed Soares is the one to blame for this he is a major asshole.
ognian2002- April 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm
1. Fedor
2. Moussasi
2. GSP
3. Anderson
4. Aldo
5. Machida
6. Edgar
7. Penn
8. Aoki
9. Hendo
AussieDaveMMA- April 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm
1. Fedor - All that really matters...
ccman- April 16, 2010 at 2:38 pm
Buncha sexist bastards.... forgot cyborg..... that is a chick right?
iDestroy- April 16, 2010 at 2:17 pm
#1 - Penn
#2 - Fedor
#3 - Shogun
#4 - Machida
#5 - Jones

AFOMMADOTCOM- April 16, 2010 at 1:40 pm
Time for a super unpopular opinion... Ben is absolutely right and here is how the list looks in my eyes (i know it wont be agreed upon by any of my fellow potato nation members)

1.) GSP (Even though he can't finish, he still fights the entire fight and dominates)
2.) Fedor (This won't last if he is not tested soon)
3.) Nick Diaz (He has come on strong and Destroyed everyone in recent memory)
4.) Cris Cyborg (The most dominate woman in the world)
5.) BJ Penn (Losing a fight your suppose to win 10 out of 10 times hurts)
6.) Anderson Silva (You have to fight to be the worlds best fighter)
7.) Machida (If he dominates Shogun he definitely moves up)
8.) Jose Aldo (So explosive and dangerous, if he does to Faber what he has done to everyone else he should skyrocket up this list)
9.) Jake Shields (has an impressive list of wins, if he beats Hendo he could break top 5)
10.) Gegard Mousasi (No one for him to fight in Strikeforce, lets hope he can get a quality opponent after King Mo)
jizzninja- April 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm
Why in the world are people putting lesnar on their lists.fedor would clown him. Silvas a dick but he's still 1 or 2 on the list. GSP is below Silva simply bc silva destroys people hypothetically he would have beat everyone he fought. Although p4p is hypothetical so suck a dick
ccman- April 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm
@sp00ki kabuki - yes i copy and pasted since i did not wanna scroll back and forth for spelling -

What weight classes has Carwin, Fedor, or Jon Jones fought at aside from their respective where you discount GSP and ignore on them. as was said earlier, these lists say more about us than they do about the fighters but hypocritical much?
stopdrinkingpee- April 16, 2010 at 1:12 pm
1. Fëdor
2. GSP
3. Machida
4. Aldo
5. Penn

I think Frankie's decision over Penn was a legit win, but like Ben, I'm giving BJ the benefit of the doubt. Even though I hate him.

Anderson Silva doesn't make my list for two reasons:

1) In order to be a top p4p fighter, first you have to be a fighter. Anderson is not a fighter. I maintain that if Forrest hadn't run face-first into his jab, even that fight would have turned into a farce. Anderson was clowning in that one, too.

2) I think he lost to Maia. I scored it 48-47:
Round 1 - Silva, 10-9
Round 2 - Silva, 10-9
Round 3 - 10-10
Round 4 - Maia, 10-9
Round 5 - Maia, 10-8

Maia was more effective in Round 5 than Nate Quarry was against Kalib Starnes, and no one complained about 30-24 in that one.

I'm not happy about my 3rd-5th, but if Fëdor and GSP aren't your top two (in either order), you're tripping.
JB- April 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm
Silva may not be entertaining at times, but lets be honest with ourselves. He is the only person in the world who can toy with top level competition. Thats something that Fedor and GSP can't do even when fighting guys like Hardy or Rogers. I know everyone wants to drop Silva because he's playing around to much in the ring, But lets face it GSP DOES NOT WANT TO FIGHT SILVA!!! Dana doesn't want Silva to beat GSP ether and that is what would happen if they ever met. I would loooove to here someone argue that GSP would simply gnp Silva. Please please explain how he would do something that Dan Henderson couldn't do.

O and BJ has fallen from grace. He has waaay to many losses now. I've been a BJ Penn fan since he started and this was the last time I could listen to everyone's excuses and trick myself into believing them. First it was cardio, then it was weight, then it was that he only loses to the best guys, etc. This was it for me, BJ is out of the top 10 forever in my book.
1. Silva
2. Fedor
3. GSP
4. Jose Aldo (a little premature, but I don't feel like updating this after Fabers trip to the hospital)
Decipleofmagus- April 16, 2010 at 12:56 pm
Silva - Just because he has weird performances, doesn't mean his ranking should fall. He is still dominating everyone. Period
Fedor - No explanation needed, the only reason he is number 2, is because Arlovski was boxing the shit out of him, and since then he hasn't had a real test, Brett Rogers has heavy hands, but that's about it.
GSP - although he is a phenomenal wrestler, not only have we seen him get TKO'd by someone who never should have, but since then all he has done is rode out decisions.
Penn-Because of his loss, he falls a couple notches, but he is still one of the best.
Aoki - How is no one putting Shinya Aoki on this list? He is the best ground guy in the game, and his creativity to get it to the ground is unmatched.
Mousasi - He hasn't had a real test since '08 (Melvin Manhouf) so he can't be too far up the list.
Aldo - Although devastating, he needs a bit more tenure before moving up. A win over Faber will get him another rank, assuming Mousasi loses.
Shogun - He has been in the sport a very long time, and has huge wins over dangerous opponents, and we all know...he beat Machida.
Machida - One under Shogun since he got beat, but this low on the list because his only big opponent was Rashad

I cant think past this cause they all get muddled, Lesnar needs more fights, Carwin will be a HUGE challenge, Diaz...seriously? I want to put King Mo on here but...he hasn't really fought anyone yet. I think too many people are forgetting the overseas MMA in these lists. I would even go as far to say Gomi is still up there. Hell I wanted to put Genki Sudo and Bas Rutten just for kicks!

ReX13- April 16, 2010 at 12:51 pm
Stak40>> i waited all damn day for half a list? Naw, playa.

Have a good weekend, man. I'll see you and Bo later.
Stak40- April 16, 2010 at 12:44 pm
Ok, ok. I know you all have been stuck to your screens waiting on my list, so i decided to bless you all and send you into your weekends feeling satisfied.

First off i would like to state that a win is a win. Decision or TKO/KO/Submission. Only time this doesnt apply is if there is some questionable judging.

1. Spider-No one has even come close to beating him no matter if he is on his game or dancing around like bitch in MW and LHW. Until he loses, damn what you think about his character.

2. GSP-Tim Duncan of MMA. Great all around. Wins most of the fights he should. I believe he has the potential to even be dominant in MW.

3. BJ-Not losing in your weight class for 8 years speaks for itself. Has fought many of the top fighters. Problem has always been figuring out which BJ is going to show up. Hasn't been too much of an issue lately but obviously was last weekend since he lost to a scrub.

4. Fedor- I agree, he is exciting to watch, finished a lot of good fights and has fought a couple of great fighters. However, if you arent fighting the best of the best on a regular basis, 4 is a high as you get.

5. Shogun- He is a bad mamajamma and we all know he should be the champ.

Honorable mentions: Evans. Mousasi, Aldo, ,"Bones" Jones
All of the HM's have the potential to do great things in the future some need some more big fights to really be considered.
sp00ki kabuki- April 16, 2010 at 12:30 pm
1. Fedor- he beats everyone in convincing fashion. and extra points on sticking it to dana white on the business side. white screws fighters and fedor screwed white.
2. A. Silva- can beat anyone he wants, and when he does fight he looks like one of thoes over the top unrealistic action movies.
3. Lyoto- so dangrous, i think he got pulled into his own hype and relaxed on the shogun fight.
4. B.J. Penn- awesome in all areas of the fight game, vicious, and not afraid to fight anyone (he fought lyoto at LHW)
5. Nick Diaz- great boxing skills and sick jitts, along with amazing cardio. after watching his fights in the ufc again i dont think he lost any of them IMO. can beat anyone at 170 while getting high everyday.
6. Jose Aldo- amazing speed and precision. I dont see him losing to anyone for a very long time.(except a freak ko or somthing)
7. Mousasi- He is the next fedor.
8. Carwin- very strong, extremly inteligent, and humble. he doesnt buy his own hype.
9. Jon Jones- has completely destroyed (litterly) everyone he has faced.
10. GSP- i didnt even want to put him on this list because he only fight at WW. go up or go down, cause the guys he is fighting are jokes. anderson silva would have beaten anyone that gsp has and in more spactular fashion.

(sorry for all the bad spelling, but i just dont care)
Barc- April 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm
FUCK! You dickwads are definitely irritating me and my ignorant hate of the Fedor machine. Fuck him, his managers, M-1 Russia. May they burn in hell.

On a lighter note, here's my top 5, In very particular order:

1. Fedor
2. GSP
3. Silva
4. Penn
5. Aldo
Trufleshufle13- April 16, 2010 at 11:44 am
ReX13- April 16, 2010 at 11:42 am
Trufleshufle13 Says:

if you disagree with my list ill fight you.

See you by the bike racks after school. Winner gets to keep his one-three.