The left hook heard ’round the world obviously shook up all of fighting. Anderson Silva’s attempts at goading Weidman into recklessness proved a disaster on the level of Muhammad Ali talking mid-fight to Ken Norton (a match in which Ali’s jaw was broken). The result is a new middleweight champion, and new pound-for-pound king sitting atop the rankings. This type of rankings list changes routinely, whether it be an off performance by a usually great fighter or a unexpected loss; these tend to get shaken up a bit. Just not at the very top.
Below is a list of the most dominant fighters in the world, and different person at the top of the list for the first time in at least 4 years.
4. Anderson Silva- The greatest fighter in MMA’s short history lost for the first time in his UFC career Saturday night. His takedown defense held up after an early shot by Weidman, but it cost striking defense horribly. The games he’s played in the past to look inhuman against the likes of Forrest Griffin and Demian Maia just didn’t work against Chris. It appeared Anderson had the fight going partly in his favor at the end of the first round, but whenever he tried to unleash (in the middle of dancing) Weidman was able to defend. The future is wide open (at the moment) for Anderson. He could rematch Chris, he could try for a “superfight”, or he could push harder for a boxing match against Roy Jones Jr. Any one would be entertaining.
Make no mistake, Anderson Silva was a loser in the fight at UFC 162. He didn’t just beat himself. He didn’t just have a bad night. He didn’t just showboat too much. He lost to a guy who was better than him on that night; one that is just going to improve. However, if Anderson can come back to form in his next fight (against whomever it may be) than his stock will surely rise again. Because at his best, he was the greatest.
2 (tie). Jose Aldo- Skill for skill, speed for speed, power for power; Jose Aldo might be the most scary fighter on earth. His kicks are fast, accurate, and crippling. His punching is crisp and destructive, and his improvisation is on the level of the former king. Rankings are about results though, and Jose is not at a shortage in that department. In 2009, Aldo tore through Mike Brown to become the undisputed best featherweight in the world. Since then he has gone through 6 opponents who have all been ranked in the top five (most in the top 3) with one exception, the guy who just got robbed in a lightweight title fight, Frankie Edgar. Jose has blasted people early (Mendes, Swanson), he has had to grind out tough decisions (Florian, Faber), and he has piled on the assault until the other guy just couldn’t keep up (Brown, Gamburyan).
He also won what was possibly the best fight in mma history (with two top 10 pfp fighters) this past February against Edgar. Jose’s next fight was going to be another crazy match up against a former lighweight in Anthony Pettis. However, after Anthony got hurt Chan Sung Jung “The Korean Zombie” stepped up to take his place. While Jung is a tough featherweight, with a decent win streak, he will most likely be cannon fodder for the champ.
2 (tie). Jon Jones- The best light-heavyweight in MMA’s short history, the owner of five consecutive title defenses in the UFC’s flagship division, and all before he turned 26. Jon Jones has been blazing his way through mixed martial arts for 3 years now, and is on the precipice of the #1 spot in these rankings (or already there depending on who you ask).
His exceptional use of range keeps opponents at a workable distance for however long he keeps the fight standing, and his perfect takedown defense (he has literally never been taken down inside the UFC) make sure he has the only option of bringing the fight to the ground once the cage door closes. Once the fight hits the ground, Jones is even more dangerous. His 3 foot arms give him the advantage of causing damage while being able stay postured out of trouble (outside of one armbar attempt against Vitor Belfort), while also letting him latch on to chokes whenever opponents panic and give him their head.
“Bones” has a fight lined up later this year with Alexander Gustafsson where he’ll finally be coming face to face with a striker the same size (and actually a little bit taller). It will also mark the longest title defense streak in the 205 pound division if he can get by his lanky adversary.
1. Georges St. Pierre- Dominance personified. GSP has made the UFC’s welterweight division his home since January of 2004. His record there, 18-2. The two guys who beat him, brutally destroyed in the rematch(s). St. Pierre has faced off against top 5 competition in almost every fight since taking on Matt Hughes as a fresh faced 23 year old at UFC 50. He’s had his slip ups along the way; like the time Matt Hughes took a last second armbar in the first round of their first meeting, or when Matt Serra knocked him senseless after landing a glancing over hand right. But since then, he’s been a machine.
While his new style of control over excitement has lost him fans at both the casual and hardcore level, his style has been nearly flawless in its execution. He’s been in 11 fights since the loss to Matt Serra 6 years ago. Out of a possible 46 rounds in that time frame he has lost 3 maybe 4 of them. One of those rounds was his first fight back against Josh Koscheck, the second (and possible third) was against Jake Shields where he became a victim of Jake’s patented “poke you in the eye while inching forward like a zombie” offense, and the last was when Carlos Condit caught him with a beautifully executed left high kick in the third round last November (which GSP came back from later in the round to land some good shots of his own and slam Carlos).
One hopes he can up the ante against Johny Hendricks in his next fight, and get a stoppage for the first time since 2009. But the lack of stoppages doesn’t effect this list at the moment (as the king of the stoppage is no longer on top).