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Rankings Spotlight: MMA’s Top 5 Pound-for-Pound Fighters

(Weirdest part is, the Portuguese language doesn’t even have a phrase that means “dress shoes.”)

Just one of the many, many problems inherent in ranking MMA’s top “pound-for-pound” fighters – aside from the obvious fact these lists are 100 percent fantasy-based and therefore flatly ridiculous to begin with — is that a lot of people can’t even agree what the phrase “pound-for-pound” actually means. Does it simply provide a method for comparing the best fighters in the world across different classes? Does it purport to measure a fighter’s dominance relative to his size? Does it envision a bizzaro world where everyone is the same height and weight? And if so, does a 135-pound Fedor Emelianenko still have that ribbon of fat around his gut? Fuck if we know.

Fact is, pound-for-pound lists are really just a study in speculative fiction. Rather than trying to rank a bunch of fighters who will never actually fight we’d probably be better off writing a sprawling, dystopian novel presupposing that the Nazis won WWII, Custer didn’t die at the Little Bighorn and that during the summer of 1985 a 27-year-old Dan Severn accidentally stepped on a butterfly during his morning jog through Ann Arbor, setting off a chain reaction that caused Jon Jones never to be born at all. I guess what we’re trying to say is, things are about to get real theoretical up in this bitch. Like, comically subjective and shit.

Still, even if we can’t claim to know exactly what these rankings are trying to achieve, we do know one thing: Our carefully cultivated demographic information tells us you motherfuckers loves you some lists. And in that, we must oblige …

Ben Goldstein:

1. Anderson Silva: All the easy analogies have been beaten to death, so what can you really say about Anderson Silva except that he’s a lion playing among wildebeests? It’s not just athleticism, aptitude, and creativity — Silva possesses the kind of extra-dimensional vision usually reserved for deaf composers and chess savants. When it comes to fighting, he can do literally anything.

2. Georges St. Pierre: Let’s be frank — GSP’s technical perfection is not always a thrill to watch, and his five-rounder against Jake Shields nearly ruined UFC 129. But the level of dominance he’s displayed against the UFC’s welterweight elite over the last four years has been astounding. You have to give it up for a guy who can take the fight wherever he wants it to go, 100 percent of the time.

3. Jose Aldo: I actually liked seeing Aldo get beat up a little bit by Mark Hominick; adversity is what makes a legend. Now that he’s survived that test, I have no doubt he’ll resume his slash-and-burn through the contender list at 145, starting with Chad Mendes, then (fingers crossed) moving on to Kenny Florian.

4. Jon Jones: The present and the future of MMA. His performances are already as impressively superhuman as Anderson Silva’s. All he needs is the title reign — and maybe, one day, a run at heavyweight.

5. Dominick Cruz: A complete and uniquely talented champion who has left some of the best bantamweights in the sport licking their wounds and scratching their heads. A win over Urijah Faber at UFC 132 in July would finally get him over with casual fans, while avenging his only loss in 18 fights.

Chad Dundas:

1. Jon Jones: Jonny Bones is 23 years old, has had fewer than 10 fights in the UFC, isn’t even done physically maturing yet and already, nobody in the world wants to fight him. That includes at least one guy on this list and that’s good enough for me.

2. Georges St. Pierre: All St. Pierre has done during the last three and a half years is outthink, outperform and outclass every opponent the UFC could find to put in the cage with him. Is it his fault he competes in the only sport in the world where that’s not good enough for some people?

3. Anderson Silva:
Silva is so good that half the time it looks like he’s not even really trying. I guess that’s a problem for everybody not named Anderson Silva.

4. Dominick Cruz: One of the most elusive and unorthodox fighters in the sport, Cruz must be a nightmare to prepare for. Just 25 years old, as long as his body doesn’t come apart on him, he could be champ for a while.

5. Jose Aldo: Aldo may have shown his mettle in gutting one out over Hominick, but he didn’t exactly come away looking like a pound-for-pound great. I’m willing to chalk it up to sickness for now, but I’ll need to see a return to form if I’m going to justify keeping him on this list at the expense of guys like Frankie Edgar, Gilbert Melendez and Cain Velasquez next time. Wait, we are going to do this again at some point … right?

Mike Russell:

1. Anderson Silva: Besides the four round spanking he received from Chael Sonnen last year, no opponent has been able to touch “The Spider” the past few years. He’s the reason Georges St. Pierre is reluctant to move up to 185 and why Jon Jones will likely change his tune about fighting friends if Silva decides to move up to light heavyweight.

2. Georges St-Pierre: His only loss of the past six years came at the hands of Matt Serra, who loses 9.995 times out of 10 to GSP under normal circumstances. The problem is, the loss made him revert to a more careful (read, boring) style that has turned many fans off of watching his fights. It’s tough to argue against him being on this list, as he is as dominant a fighter as you’ll find, but if this was the top most exciting fighters in the game he would be somewhere at the bottom, ahead of Jake Shields and Jon Fitch.

3. Jon Jones: Another few wins over top competition could move Jones ahead of St-Pierre on the list, but considering that the UFC’s light heavyweight strap is becoming as cursed as its heavyweight one (in the past nine championship bouts it has been won by seven different men), the odds of him remaining champion are stacked against him.

4. Jose Aldo: Some people think that Aldo’s hard-fought win over Hominick should drop him in the pound-for-pound rankings. I think it should elevate Hominick up a few slots. The fight proved that Aldo can fight through adversity to win and although he didn’t look dominant in doing it, the same can also be said for the top two on this list at times during their respective careers.

5. Frankie Edgar: If Edgar can definitively beat Gray Maynard in their rubber match, nobody will argue that he deserves to be on this list. If he wins, I’d like to see him take on Gilbert Melendez next, as I think “El Nino” could shake things up a bit in the UFC’s lightweight class and in these rankings.

Honorable mentions: Gilbert Melendez, Cain Velasquez, Dominick Cruz, Nick Diaz.

Cagepotato Comments

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J-Dog- May 6, 2011 at 5:32 am
You may not think Jones belongs on the list yet, but mark my words he will be as dominant as Anderson Silva or GSP. He completely dominates in every fight and finishes fools with ease. He's the real deal and he'll eventually be at most people's #1 P4P list.
Jonny5- May 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm
1. GSP 2. Spider 3. Jose Aldo 4. Frankie Edgar 5. Jon Fitch. Jones and Cruz??? You guys are just trolling now. I got Jones right on the cusp right now but not yet ready to put him above guys like Fitch and Edgar. To be honest Cruz had to fall off the P4P top 10 list to let a cat like Jones in at #6 in my opinion.
Robbie- May 5, 2011 at 3:23 am
None of you have Kevin Sorbo on your lists. Your lists are bad, and you should feel bad.
SnackDaddy- May 4, 2011 at 11:56 pm
Whoever put Diaz on that list just cracked the joke of the century. Seriously, i don't think Diaz can get past Kampman, Sanchez, Alves, Fitch or Penn.
Also, i'm not cool with Cain being on that list until he fights Dos Santos.
The Highest Primate- May 4, 2011 at 7:44 pm
1 - Tito ortiz
2 - Ken Shamrock
3 - Gabe Reuteger
4 - Frank Trigg
5 - Ryan Jensen

There you go boys, thats how its done.. If P4P was about dominance i'd put Joe Son in there too as he dominates women (with other dudes)
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RwilsonR- May 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm
MRuss is the fucking man on this list! Except for his unnecessary mention of Gil Melendez, he appreciates the under-apprectiated Edgar. Dude is a 145'er fighting at 155, and still get no love from the other two guys. Nice work, Mike!
tonyevetts- May 4, 2011 at 4:51 pm
POOR CHAD DUNDAS...the shit just got real.
1. Silva
2. GSP
3. Diaz
4. aldo
5. keenan cahill....look him up if you don't recognize the name.
MMAINMYBLOOD- May 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm
Oh and sorry I cannot agree with anyone that puts overeem in the top five.. and also Cain V one but not the other there are too many good fighters out there to have both of them.
MMAINMYBLOOD- May 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm
@ccman I totally agree with your list... the way you explained it would have me admitting in a court of law on a stack of bibles instantly.. also CHAD DUNDAS I can not ever agree with your crap lists ... every time this site does this you post some shit that makes me wonder what the hell you are smoking.. I would love to try it but damn it just makes you dumb as fuck.. Please think this shit over before you post it its a wast of space.
RearNakedSpoon- May 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm
1. GSP
2. Overeem
3. Silva
4. Aldo
5. Velasquez
Get Off Me- May 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm
I like the gino better at #2.
Get Off Me- May 4, 2011 at 2:19 pm
5th round....woopsie.
intercept440- May 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm
1. intercept440 (162.35lbs)
2. ham and cheese dagwood
3. miller lite
4. arriany blowing intercept440 (after she made me the dagwood )
5 arriany making me another dagwood

thats the list you fukkers.. you cant deny it
Koeikan- May 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm
Fire Chad Dumbass... quickly.
Wallly- May 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm
Sonnen was found not guilty so is not a cheater. Sonnen vs sliva rematch is all middleweight should be talking about. they are just hand feeding okiami or whatev to silva for fun. waste of time

i agree with boss nasty s last list that is legit
Dagnut- May 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm
Would Sonnen beat him in a rematch? I don't think so.
Get Off Me- May 4, 2011 at 1:43 pm
almost as bad as hearing "you obviously did not watch the fight" from you just now.
I did watch the fight, yes Sonnen hit Silva a few times when they were standing, but the lion's share of the fight took place on the mat, with Sonnen in Silva's full guard right?
Again a wrestler in a BJJ fighters full guard is spanking a guy around and agressively forcing the fight in your books, I did not say you were wrong, I simply saw Sonnen perfectly happy sitting in Silva's guard and not really forcing to pass, improve position or submit the me that's conservative, it's a winning strategy on top of it, but all I was trying to say was that Sonnen played that fight rather conservative in my view, to say I did "not watch the fight obviously" and back it up with Sonnen won on the feet and ground is also wrong, Silva won the fight on the ground two ways, by first keeping Sonnen inside full guard and butterfly guard over four rounds as well as the submission in the fourth round itself.
To me BJJ is undervalued by the judges enough, I regard you as more savy than mma judges(not an insult), keeping wrestlers from advancing on the ground should be worth something, it should not be considered being spanked around or even losing for that matter. Go see Lesnar/Hearring if you want to see what a wrestler who is pressing the fight on the ground looks like.
Dagnut- May 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm
Silva could of lost against Sonnen..but he DIDN' was even a bad decision you can moan about he finished him.
If it's pound for pound he's the only one on the list who has competed at 2 weights, he hasn't lost in the ufc...if he wasn't so disliked it wouldn't even by up for debate. So what if he's ducking Jones..he's 36 years old, he's also boxed professionally...he's the most talented fighter MMA has seen.
GSP has been in the weakest division imo
Smackdaddiest1- May 4, 2011 at 1:33 pm
Chad Dundas is a fucking moron.

That. Is. All.

I also think anyone who puts Jon Jones on this list over a guy like Gilbert Melendez or Nick Diaz should have their keyboard privileges taken from them. Jones' biggest win was over a slow, lethargic, coming off his millionth knee surgery Shogun Rua.

Kid's impressive but pound for pound top 5 in the world? Puhleez!
ButtChin- May 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm
Why is it that no one ever looks outside of fuckin UFC fighters for these lists. I'm not saying Hendo is a top 5 P4P. I gotta say tho, Overeem is in my top 5. Dude doesn't just win, he molests his opponents.
ccman- May 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm
Nothing destroys an arguement like the phrase "true/real fans"
it just says if you do not agree then you do not understand. but reads to the rest of the world "i am completely unreasonable and somehow believe myself to have a higher understanding with absolutely nothing to back this belief" It becomes kinda like arguing religon with someone who thinks they know the unknowable better.
Beatingu- May 4, 2011 at 12:20 pm
*won the fight
Beatingu- May 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Sonnen is a cheat, even if he won the found, the belt would have been stripped from him. Also, Anderson Silva was fighting with really badly bruised ribs. No one seems to think much of that for some reason. Have you EVER seen anyone with such mediocre boxing clip Silva like that?
True fans of the sport would see he couldnt bend, twist and evade like normal. His range of mobility was greatly impacted. But as a true champion, he came into the fight injured, still beat the cheating opponent and kept the title. How the fuck is this man not the #1 p4p on every list? GSP is great, at one weight class. Anderson? Undefeated in 2, finishes basically every opponent. Beats cheaters and injuries alike.
SnackDaddy- May 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm
John Jones is a phenom. It doesn't matter if he's only fought a handful of fights. The fact is there is no one close to challenging his title right now. Also, i love Frankie Edgar but he doesn't belong on that list. I mean, i respect him, i really do. He is one of those fighters who comes from humble beginnings and works really hard to pull off some magnificent upsets. But, more often than not, he is punching above his weight class. It's amazing what he has accomplished already, but don't expect him to have a reign in his weight class like the other names on that list.