With the loss by Anderson Silva to Chris Weidman at UFC 162, Chris Cox places Jon Jones at the top of his Pound for Pound List (Photo by Dave Mandel, Sherdog.com).
Written by Chris Cox (@CoxFight), Contributing Writer
While some of the world is still grasping the fact that we have a new middleweight champion in the UFC, there is something else that is being looked over. Who is the best in the world now? There have been multiple debates when it comes to this list, and I can admit that I have been in several screaming matches of my own when it comes up.
I have seen several new lists that have been released this week along with a published version by the UFC themselves. Meanwhile, I have been doing my own research and put together my own list. If you have been following my articles with Resolution Sports and enjoy my opinion, you will enjoy this list as well. It is something I will be keeping updated throughout the year, so let’s get down to it.
1. Jon “Bones” Jones - The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion is the number one fighter in the world now with the Silva loss at UFC 162. He has five title defenses in one of the UFC’s toughest divisions. There has not been such consistency for a champion in this division since Chuck Liddell lost the title in 2007. He also has four finishes in those five defenses. Not to mention, he has taken on two challengers who came from a different division. Putting yourself in that situation is nothing but the definition of a Pound for Pound best. His next fight will be in September when he takes on Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165.
2. Georges “Rush” St. Pierre - Many people are not a fan of his fight style and the way he grinds out wins, but you cannot argue with dominance. He has not lost since April of 2007. He has also not lost a round since then as well. He has defended his title eight times, and it has been debated that he has the best double leg take down in the game. On top of that, he has the most significant strikes and takedowns landed in the UFC, not to mention the highest takedown accuracy. His next fight will be against Johny Hendricks in November at UFC 167.
3. Jose “Junior” Aldo - The UFC Featherweight Champion has been dominant for all of his MMA career. He has only suffered one loss, which was back in 2005. He has taken on every challenger put in front of him and has been welcoming of anyone who would like to move up or down to take him on. Notable wins over Frankie Edgar, Urijah Faber and Kenny Florian are what has secured him up at the top. Aldo will next take on Chan Sung Jung here in a couple of weeks at UFC 163.
4. Anderson “Spider” Silva - Yes, this is how deep he has fallen in the MMA world. While I understand that he has been dominant for so long, so have the other fighters in front of him. It only took one loss to shake the whole top of the chart up. For years, he was the definition of a Pound for Pound great. He was able to move up and down and take on any challenger at will, but he got too cocky in his last fight, which has brought him down behind the others. After the loss at UFC 162, Silva said that he would not pursue a rematch with Chris Weidman. Before the dust even settled on that decision, he quickly changed his tone this past week and wanted another crack at the new UFC Middleweight Champion. They will meet on December 28th at UFC 168.
5. Benson “Smooth” Henderson - Henderson has done well since transitioning from the WEC to UFC. He has seven wins since his loss to Anthony Pettis in the final outing of the WEC. He won the lightweight title from Frankie Edgar and then defended it against him in two razor thin matches. He has not had a stoppage since he has been in the UFC, but wins over top opponents like Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez is what validates him at the number five spot. He has some nasty submission skills, and I would love to see him put them back to work like earlier in his career. Next up for him is a highly anticipated rematch with Pettis at UFC 164 on August 31st.
6. Cain Valaquez - The UFC Heavyweight Champion has to be considered a top fighter. He has made such an impact on that division and has multiple finishes, not to mention an absolutely dominating performance over Junior Dos Santos to reclaim his belt at UFC 136. Dos Santos gave him his lone loss, and the beating he put on him was the purest form of sweet revenge. He beat down Antonio Silva again just recently and will look to validate his title contention when he faces Dos Santos in a rubber match. This is a great trilogy for the division and for his career. It will go down on October 19th at UFC 166, and it will be a huge fight for them both as Dos Santos looks to take back the belt.
7. Renan Barao – The champion of the bantamweight division. He does not deserve Interim in front of his name. Domick Cruz has not fought in almost 20 months, which is why you will not find him anywhere on my list. In September, Barao will have defended the interim title just as much as Cruz defended his belt. Barao has also not lost since his second MMA fight. He is a strong force below the 155 line and could easily find himself on the way to a super fight with some of the guys in the featherweight and flyweight divisions.
8. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson - The very first UFC Flyweight Champion. He was always a force at bantamweight but could never cross that threshold to obtain gold. Needless to say, the drop to 125 was the best thing for his career. He came out on top of the tournament and has successfully defended his belt already, now looking to do so again in just a few weeks at UFC on FOX 8 against John Moraga. This division is prone for excitement with the low weight and pure energy they display, and Johnson leads the way.
9. Chris “All American” Weidman - Oh yes, the new UFC Middleweight Champion does deserve a spot here on my list. A lot of people feel it should probably be higher, but he still has some validation in the MMA world to me. While he did take down the number one fighter in the world, even he knows that he needs a rematch to validate that he is the best in the weight class. He has all the skills to climb to the top, but he needs some more impressive wins to get him there. A 10-0 record is a good start for sure, though.
10. Ben "Funky" Askren - How could you really not pay attention to Bellator?! Askren, the Bellator Welterweight Champion, is the future of wrestling and ground-and-pound in MMA. That future is what has him at my number 10 spot. He is one of the best in the organization and one of their most dominant champions for sure. He has not lost at all in his MMA career. While the UFC can be seen as the most dominant stage in MMA, they are constantly cutting fighters and adding more competition to Bellator, giving this guy more challengers.
There are a couple of notables to add to this list who could easily cross over with some key wins and losses. Vitor Belfort is one of those guys. He has some great wins in the middleweight division and will be a worthy challenger for the winner of Weidman-Silva II. Urijah Faber is another one. The dude is a constant contender in every division he enters. You don’t always want to give him a title shot, but he just keeps making a case. The right win for him could easily have him back as a top fighter and once again a champion. Last but not least is Frankie Edgar. He was a force at lightweight and just made his case to be another at featherweight with his win over Charles Olivera at UFC 162. He has been in nothing but title fights for the last three years, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he earns other one within the next year.
To sum it up, this list is ever changing and could easily be thrown into another mix-up by the end of this year. I am sure there will be debate about it, but that happens with every Top 10 list that comes into existence. I hope you guys have enjoyed my take on this matter, and always stay tuned to Resolution Sports for more!