With leagues in Brazil, Canada, Japan, Russia, and the U.S. Who are the greatest pound for pound MMA fighters in the world?
Many “Top” lists come out on websites giving a top-10 grade to fighters in each individual weight class, but not so many venture to call out a single “best of the best”
This is a great way to keep up with MMA, but for those interested in reading about the best fighters worldwide and not just in the mainstream – UFC – it’s rather conventional.
Below is our ranking of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, regardless of weight class or league affiliation.
1. Anderson Silva – 185/205 (UFC) (Current Middle Weight Champ/UFC)
Silva is the best technical striker in MMA. He picks his opponents apart methodically, with deadly accuracy, and has lifted himself to a higher level than anyone else at 185, and some feel 205, as well. He brings a great Muay Thai clinch, has solid Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and can finish off black belts on the ground. There’s not much else you can say about Silva; just feel sorry for his next victim.
Record: 25 – 4 – 0
2. Georges St. Pierre – 170 (UFC/UCC) (Current Welter Weight Champ/UFC)
St. Pierre has dangerous knockout power and speed in his hands and kicks, coupled with great wrestling and jiu jitsu styles. He has taken down the best in the world at 170 including Olympic Judo black belts, American college wrestlers, and dominant kick boxers. His nickname of “Rush” is well earned as he usually pushes the pace and is quick to finish his opponent. He is seen as one of the greatest wrestlers in his division, yet his base style was never wrestling – GSP is just a natural.
Record: 19 – 2 – 0
3. Fedor Emelianenko – Heavyweight (Affliction/Pride)
Emelianeko has never been stopped by an opponent in a fight (he suffered one loss due to a doctor stoppage) and has one of the largest list of victims in MMA. Emelianenko is the best heavyweight in the world with heavy hands, world championship Sambo, ground and pound, and a God like chin and resistance to damage – I have seen the man dropped hard on the top of his head and what looked to be like sure spinal injury – maybe even paralyzing injury – Yet he got right up as if he only tripped and skinned his knee. Many US fans don’t know much about Fedor because he’s done most of his fighting in Japan and Russia, but after quickly finishing off Tim Silvia and Arlovski, and recently knocking out Brett Rodgers in a Strikeforce event here in the US, Fedor is gaining some American interest from the casual MMA fan. Many of the American hardcore fans are already well aware of who Fedor is, however because he signed with Strikeforce and not UFC he has caught a lot of bad flak and seen as dodging the league with the best fighters in the world – which I believe is true. Dana White UFC President claims, Fedor should no longer be able to claim greatest in the world if he is not in competition with the greatest fighters in the world. Many US fans agree. None the less you cant argue with his stats and ability.
Record: 31 – 1 – 0
4. Lyoto Machida – 205 (UFC/K1) (Current Leight Heavy Weight Champ/UFC)
Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida one of the rarest type fighters in the sport today. Using the traditional art of Karate which no one before him has effectively used nor gone as far in the sport as he has. Machida has surgical precision with his strikes and is one of the most evasive fighters in the game which is especially frustrating for MMA fighters that are wrestlers, just watch his fight with Tito Ortiz. His stand up is top shelf and his ground game ain’t too shabby either, although you rarely get to seem him on the ground. He is very patient but once he gets that moment of opportunity the guy becomes a boa constrictor and is all over his opponent to finish him off. Gaining his belt after a precision KO win over Rashad Evans, and more recently defending his belt against Shogun, in what is seen as a very controversial decision in what seems to be a fight Shogun had won in points. However every fighter will agree that you can never leave it up to the judges, and that’s why.
Record: 16 – 0 – 0
5. BJ Penn – 155/170 (UFC/K1) (Current Light Weight Champion/UFC)
Penn A.K.A. “The Prodigy,” has all the tools to be the best. He has amazing dexterity and flexibility for his jiu jitsu game, as well as knockout boxing skills. He has fought at many different weight classes and has been successful in most. Perhaps his only downside is his mental game, and effort in his training. Despite this, he has dominated the 155 lightweight class and has been successful at 170 in the UFC. He so far is the only person to hold two titles at one time in the UFC.
Record: 14 – 5 – 1
6. Rashad Evans – 205 (UFC)
Evans, A Michigan State wrestler who has explosive knockout power in hands and feet – just watch the Chuck Liddel knockout and you will agree. He is the former UFC light heavyweight champ, and has shown improvement in his stand up boxing and cardio, which was once a weakness while coming up in the UFC reality show The Ultimate Fighter. He recently had a huge loss to the current and now controversial champ after the Shogun fight – Lyoto Machida – who KO’d Evans with a devastating punch to the head. Evans has great potential and now that he has suffered his first loss and in such a fashion, I bet he will be back better than ever.
Record: 13- 1 – 1
7. Miguel Torres- 135 (WEC)
No one else in the WEC has beaten down their opponents like Torres has. He is a tough kid from a rough neighborhood who happens to have a black belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu, his own training center, and is also the former WEC bantamweight champ, well before WEC went under. I have seen a lot of his fights, and man the kid is a monster in the cage. I really hope to see him transfer over to UFC and see what he can do there.
Record 37 – 2 – 0
8. Quinton Jackson – 205 (UFC/Pride/WFA)
One of my personal favorite fighters Quinton RAMPAGE Jackson, who’s boxing skills are as vicious as they are powerful. Rampage brings it all to the table – great wrestling, brutal ground and pound, and huge slams, especially from the defensive side of arm bar positions. The former light heavy weight UFC champ, Rampage is the king of the stare down and is a fan favorite with his gutter attitude. With his recent announcement to leave MMA behind to pursue acting, Rampage fans were at a loss. However, I believe there is a lot more to that issue that we don’t understand.Whatever the case I really hope that we see him back in the cage after he is done filming The A Team where he stars as Mr. T’s character BA Barracus.
Record: 30 – 7 – 0
9. Urijah Faber – 145 (WEC)
Exciting, energetic, and “natural” are all used to describe the California Kid. One of the more wild and thrilling fighters with solid striking and submissions, Faber doesn’t disappoint. Though he lost his title to Mike Brown, Faber is still in my opinion one of the most exciting fighters to watch. The guy goes 100 miles an hour from opening bell till someone’s hand is raised. Faber is a cardio beast, and he has amazing all around skills to boot.
Record: 22 – 3 – 0
10. Andrei Arlovski – Heavyweight (Affliction/UFC)
The “Pitbull”, Arlovski is a former UFC heavyweight champion, a pro boxer, and Sambo champion. He has the tools to be the best heavyweight in MMA, but the biggest question regarding him is, which fighter will enter the ring: the ultra-aggressive striker, which earned him his belt, or the calmer methodical version, which has cost him his title? With his disappointing KO loss to Fedor, and rumors of an attempted suicide it is hard to say what will become of this great fighter. He has shown powerful knockout power and good submission skills against top contenders in the UFC.
Record: 15 – 7 – 0
And there you have it – our list for the top 10 pound for pound MMA fighters in the world. No you don’t see Brock Lesnar on the top 10 because even though I am a fan I don’t feel that a handful of fights earns you a spot on the top 10 in the world. Further more, I don’t think he should have ever got a title shot that soon just because he is well known from the world of fake wrestling. I’m sure besides him, there are plenty of other fighters you readers out there will be saying “well what about him, and what about him” – well I’m open for discussion as to who and why and also open to change/update the list if convinced otherwise – but for now this is the list.