Top Ten Pound-for-Pound Fighters in MMA

Craig JolicoeurCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2009

Josh Sanchez provides his thoughts on the top P4P fighters today in a guest editorial for MMA HQ.

The best pound for pound fighter—lists like these always spark a debate.

There is no exact science, and that’s why people can get overly offended and defensive when discussing such a thing.

You have to look at the fighter’s dominance in their own division. This isn’t matching up guys saying who could beat who, it’s a list compiling the most dominant fighters in the sport, regardless of their weight.

It’s hard to pick ten, but enjoy the guys I have picked as the best mixed martial artists in the world.

Honorable Mentions:

Shinya Aoki (DREAM), Jake Shields (Strikeforce), Yushin Okami (UFC), Dan Henderson (UFC), Josh Barnett (Affliction), Shogun Rua (UFC), Rashad Evans (UFC), Jose Aldo (WEC)

10. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson – UFC

Record: 30-7-0

Rampage Jackson is a fan favorite. He will always say and do what he wants. He’s very charismatic and he makes his presence known everywhere he goes.

Jackson is 4-1 in his last five fights. In that time, Rampage has some impressive victories over top guys like Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, and Dan Henderson. His only loss in that time was to Forrest Griffin.

Rampage is set to coach season ten of the Ultimate Fighter against Rashad Evans. The two will fight after the show with the winner facing either Lyoto Machida or Shogun Rua for the title.

9. Mike Brown – WEC

Record: 22-4-0

Mike Brown is the current featherweight champion in the WEC. He hasn’t lost since December of 2005, and he shows no signs of slowing down.

His most recent bout was a rematch against Urijah Faber. The match was a Fight of the Year candidate, and it proved that Mike Brown’s first victory over Faber was no fluke.

Brown has no shortage of competition in the division. There are guys like Wagnney Fabiano and Jose Aldo who are ready to step in and fight. With this level of competition, Brown can either keep climbing the rankings or lose his spot in the top ten.

One thing is for sure—Brown is an incredible fighter, and there’s no shortage of excitement in his fights.

8. Gegard Mousasi – DREAM/Affliction

Record: 25-2-1

Gegard Mousasi is no question one of the best fighters in the world. It is just a shame that he doesn’t get the publicity that he deserves.

Mousasi holds an impressive 25-2-1 record and he is just 23 years of age. He is a former DREAM and Cage Warriors middleweight champion, but he is currently fighting in the light-heavyweight division and potentially will end up a heavyweight.

Mousasi would be a star signing to any organization. His next fight is at Affliction: Trilogy where he will be facing Renato “Babalu” Sobral and then he will face Sokoudjou in October at DREAM 12.

If you don’t already know Mousasi, go out and look him up. He will be a household name in the future.

7. BJ Penn – UFC

Record: 13-5-1

BJ Penn has his hands full these next few fights. After dabbling in the welterweight division only to get destroyed by Georges St. Pierre, Penn is returning to the division that calls him champion.

His next fight is against Kenny Florian next month in Philadelphia. If Penn can retain his belt he is likely looking at a match against the always-dangerous Diego Sanchez.

Penn is a legend in the sport. His jiu-jitsu is phenomenal, but he needs to keep training hard to stay in the mixed martial arts elite. The rest of the lightweight division is coming hard.

6. Nick Diaz – Strikeforce

Record: 20-7-0

Love him or hate him, Nick Diaz is one of the best fighters in the world. His boxing is textbook, and his ground game is world-class.

Diaz is riding a five-fight winning streak, and will fight Joe Riggs for the Strikeforce welterweight title on August 15th.

Diaz is often looked at as a villian in the sport. His antics before, during, and after fights often get his opponents off their game. A lot of people may not like his attitude, but you can’t deny his skill. His only setback is his marijuana usage.

If he could stay drug free, he could wind up back in the UFC for a potential fight with Georges St. Pierre. It’s purely speculation, but the match would be incredibly technical, and an all-time great.

5. Ryoto “Lyoto” Machida – UFC

Record: 15-0-0

Lyoto Machida has never lost, or been hurt, during a mixed martial arts fight. Machida is a karate wizard, and his style is so unique and unpredictable that it has catapulted him into fame.

Machida is currently the UFC’s Light-Heavyweight Champion after his impressive knockout win over Rashad Evans.

When you look through his record and see wins over Rich Franklin, BJ Penn, Tito Ortiz, and Rashad Evans, you know Machida’s the real deal.

He’s the most intelligent fighter currently in the sport. He’s the champion in a loaded division, and this will only help him show his dominance.

In his next fight, Machida will face Shogun Rua for the title, and if he can win, he will face the winner of Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson.

What we are witnessing with Machida is magical; don’t take his skill for granted.

4. Fedor Emelianenko – Affliction

Record: 30-1-0 (1 NC)

At every UFC event, you hear the chants of “Fedor, Fedor, Fedor,” and it looks like soon, the fans will be getting their wish. UFC President Dana White has said that the organization will sign Fedor.

There is no denying the talent. Fedor is a monster with a record of 30-1 (1 NC), his only loss being filled with controversy.

Fedor’s Sambo and his Judo skills are some of the best in the world, and it translates to him being the most feared heavyweight.

He has an upcoming match with Josh Barnett that will headline Affliction: Trilogy. After that, we’ll just have to wait and see where Fedor winds up.

3. Georges St. Pierre – UFC

Record: 19-2-0

Georges St. Pierre is a physical freak. He’s got incredible conditioning, and he’s one of the best wrestlers in the sport.

St. Pierre is 9-1 in his last ten fights, and his last two wins have come in dominating fashion. He’s shown the ability to control where the fight goes and get the win.

There’s no competition for St. Pierre inside the UFC’s welterweight division, so everyone would like to see him fight Anderson Silva. If this fight is to happen, it would be one of the best in the sport’s history.

2. Miguel Angel Torres – WEC

Record: 37-1-0

Miguel Torres, the WEC Batamweight Champion, is one of the most under-appreciated fighters. He has won 17 straight fights and has not lost a bout since 2003.

A lot of people want to discredit Torres’ accomplishments because the “135 division isn’t that strong,” but when you steamroll through everyone like Torres has, you are clearly a top-tier fighter.

Torres has unorthodox and incredible Muay Thai skills, and if you take him to the ground he will beat you with his black-belt BJJ game.

WEC 42 in August against Brian Bowles is where Torres will next defend his title. If he runs through another opponent, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a Mike Brown vs. Miguel Torres fight in the future.

1. Anderson Silva – UFC

Record: 24-4-0

Anderson Silva does it like no one else. He is slick, intelligent, and unbelievably accurate.

Silva has a ten-fight win streak, and his only loss since 2004 was by DQ after an illegal kick.

People have criticized Silva after his last two fights, but he’s not to blame. He stays on his game and just picks apart his opponents. They have no answer for him.

Silva remains at the top of the sport. He will fight Forrest Griffin next month in Philadelphia as he tries to pick apart the 205 pound division, like he did his previous division.


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