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Tag: P4P

BREAKING: Every UFC Title Fight Will Now Determine #1 Pound-for-Pound Fighter in the World


(Fan-made poster by graphzilla)

See, this is exactly why we put a ban on asking Dana White’s opinion about every little goddamned thing. The last time we saw the UFC’s hyperbolic carnival barker, he was making the absurd claim that bantamweight champion Renan Barao would probably become the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world if he stops Urijah Faber — a dude who Barao already beat before.

That win would represent Barao’s first defense of his brand-new unified title. Meanwhile, Jon Jones has defended his light-heavyweight belt six times so far, a tally that includes wins against four former LHW champs. But for the purposes of desperately hyping up a mid-level pay-per-view that could end up competing with the Super Bowl, we’ll just pretend that Jones doesn’t exist.

One week later, Dana White is pulling the same transparent bullshit for a different fight altogether:

“[If Weidman beats Belfort] he’s the best. He’s No. 1. How is he not No. 1 pound-for-pound in the world if he beats Vitor Belfort?” White exclaimed. “It’s impossible not to call him the No. 1 pound-for-pound guy.”

You hear that? IMPOSSIBLE! Don’t even try it, ya dummy! When a reporter pointed out that White recently made the same proclamation about Renan Barao, White made a very cogent argument in support of his new stance. Just kidding:

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P4P In-Depth: MMA’s Top Ten Greatest Fighters

Fedor Emelianenko Andrei Arlovski MMA Affliction Day of Reckoning
(When in doubt, knock him out: Fedor Emelianenko proved his status as the best in the world with his KO of Andrei Arlovski at Affliction’s "Day of Reckoning" event last month.

Ah, the pound-for-pound list — one of the most infuriating traditions in MMA punditry. Our sport has a wealth of dominant champions and brilliant contenders, but who would win an epic, all-inclusive grand prix, if every fighter (somehow, theoretically) were the same size? To put it as simply as possible, who is the most talented mixed martial artist in the world? And by what combination of win streaks, titles, victories over top-ranked opponents, and ability to finish fights does one measure "talent"? All good questions, dear reader. The list below is our effort to define MMA’s absolute top ten list, as things stand now in February 2009. Read on, and let us know how you feel in the comments section…

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1: Fedor Emelianenko (29-1, 1 no contest)
Some might argue that naming a heavyweight as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world sort of misses the point of the exercise. But at an even six feet tall (and a somewhat doughy 230 pounds), Emelianenko has never relied on size to win fights, and has beaten considerably larger opponents his entire career. Between his devastating punches and virtually undefendable armlocks, the Last Emperor can end a fight anywhere, at any time. And since the only loss on his record was due to a technicality — a cut stoppage due to an illegal elbow 17 seconds into a fight against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, which he later avenged — Fedor has developed an aura of invincibility that has psyched out opponents before they even step into the ring with him.

But hey, maybe he really is invincible. Even when a fighter manages to briefly put Emelianenko in a bad spot (see esp. Kazuyuki Fujita in 2003, Mark Coleman in 2004, Andrei Arlovski in 2009), his tremendous instincts always rescue him from danger; Fedor on auto-pilot is better than most fighters on their best night. If he can put away a couple more top-ten heavyweights before he retires (while avoiding losses), his status as the greatest fighter of all time will be non-debatable.

2: Georges St. Pierre (18-2)
Georges St. Pierre MMA UFC
GSP’s demolition of BJ Penn at UFC 94 proved that when two extremely talented fighters face off, the big guy will usually beat the shit out of the little guy. That’s just reality — and it’s why we create pound-for-pound rankings in the first place. But the size and strength advantages that St. Pierre enjoyed in his most recent welterweight title defense shouldn’t take away from his inspiring performance. Easily one of the most athletic mixed martial artists in the world, GSP is also one of the most cerebral; his win over Penn was largely the result of a meticulous game-plan executed perfectly. Though we believe he’ll rule the UFC’s welterweight division for a long time, St. Pierre’s April 2007 upset loss to Matt Serra raised some questions about his chin and mental fortitude. With a little luck — and some more of his unstoppable wrestling — St. Pierre will continue to answer those questions in 2009.
Why he’s below Fedor: It’s possible that GSP is merely human. If he can have a bad day against Matt Serra, he can certainly have another one against an even better fighter in the future.

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