Sunday, August 4, 2013

Is this the best pound for pound fighter on the planet?

After his winning performance and successful title defense on Saturday night, is this currently the best pound for pound fighter on the planet? Jose Aldo, the UFC featherweight (145 lbs.) champion is currently (23-1) and has not lost a fight in eight years; yet before his win on Saturday, he was listed as only fourth in the latest pound for pound rankings. It's hard to dispute those currently in front of him, but for argument sake, I will attempt to do so.

Before I discuss Aldo and my reasoning why he should be considered number one, let me start the heated internet debate by saying that Anderson Silva, currently listed as number three, should not be ahead of Aldo; (right now I know Spider Silva fans around the world are losing their minds!) However, as great as the former middleweight champion is, the truth is he lost earlier this month and he lost badly. You can try and argue that he lost only because of his own shenanigans in the ring, but then that just adds to mine.

Anyone who jeopardizes his standing as the greatest fighter in the world by acting the way Silva did and then gets knocked out cold in the process, should not be ranked number three in the world on this list. I'm not saying Anderson Silva is still not one of the pound for pound best, but not ahead of the man pictured above. That brings me to number two, the current UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre.

Just as impressive, but not quite as good, GSP (24-2) is on an 11 fight win streak and has not lost in the last six years. However, of those 11 wins, eight of them were by decision, which means he was only able to finish three of his opponents. Granted he fought top flight competition, but the same can be argued for any champion at this level. I don't deny St. Pierre should not be in the top three, but at this point number three appears to be where he should be.

That brings me to number one and the man many consider the present and future of mixed martial arts, Jon 'Bones' Jones. The UFC light-heavyweight champion, Jones is currently riding a nine fight win streak. Unlike St. Pierre though, Jones has finished eight of those nine with only one fight going to decision. However, unlike St. Pierre and Aldo, his current streak is only three and a half years old. Also, while some may argue he's defeated five former champions in the process, I'd respond by saying he's also fought an over the hill "janitor," so to speak, in Vladimir Matyushenko and two legit blown up middleweights in Vitor Belfort and Chael Sonnen.

Jones's stats are impressive, to say the least, and his current choice as number one in the world is hard to dispute, but now let me speak on Aldo. Since his last (and only) loss in 2005, Jose Aldo has won 16 fights in a row; of those 16, no less than nine were finished within the time limit. However, of those nine finishes, seven have come within the first or second round; with four of those coming inside the first; including an eight second destruction of Cub Swanson, currently ranked no less than the number three featherweight in the world by most.

During that streak, Aldo not only garnered the UFC title, but he was also the featherweight champion in the WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting), which was the preeminent organization for 145 lbs. fighters, since the UFC was not carrying that weight class at the time. That means that unlike Jones and St. Pierre, Aldo was a two organization titleholder during his run.

He's defeated three former world champions in the process and one, Frankie Edgar, was the former lightweight (155 lbs.) champ. The other two he completely decimated when he smashed Mike Brown in less than two rounds and destroyed Urijah Faber, in his hometown no less, when he literally chopped him down for five rounds.

Granted, the pound for pound list is all opinionated, since none of the fighters will probably ever fight each other. However instead of dismissing the lighter weight fighter simply because he's smaller in stature, one needs to look at things objectively and question, is this the best pound for pound fighter on the planet? 

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