Since middleweight king Anderson Silva’s Hail Mary was answered at UFC 117, MMA enthusiasts have been arguing all the livelong day over who the world’s best mixed martial artist is. Unfortunately, unless the planet’s top dogs all compete in the same division to alleviate the need for debate, there is no way to accurately rank these specimens without bringing fan boyness to the table.
Coming into last week’s showdown with Chael Sonnen, the Brazilian, UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre and Strikeforce heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko were in the exclusive conversation for being the sport’s greatest fighter. While you can claim a pound-for-pound rating system takes care of the differences in weight classes, it’s hardly objective and considered superfluous in many circles.
It’s standard operating procedure to revisit the P4P list after a scrap “The Spider” is involved in, however this time it was for a different reason. Despite collecting his 13th consecutive victory, it was far from the highlight reel performance he’s previously provided when pushed. In fact, for 23 minutes and 10 seconds, Sonnen not only made him look mortal, but he was thoroughly beating him like he stole something.
Turns out the challenger was right, as Silva rallied to steal the win with only 110 ticks remaining on the clock. The instant classic is arguably the greatest comeback in MMA history, however the general consensus is that Silva may have dropped a notch on the totem pole. Understanding he was beyond the the brink of defeat, but can someone that collected their seventh consecutive Octagon title defense actually slip in the standings?
Please allow me to introduce to chat room geeks across the globe a different way to defend their favorite fighters on the intense Internet battle grounds; there is a distinct difference between being MMA’s best fighter and it’s most dominant.
An analogy to compare the two monikers would be the 2000-2003 Los Angeles Lakers teams that won three consecutive NBA titles. While Shaquille O’Neal’s unprecedented combination of size, strength and agility made him team’s most unstoppable force, Kobe Bryant was by far the squad’s best skilled basketball player.
Unfortunately, Emelianenko is temporarily exiled from this conversation due to his abrupt fall from grace this past June at “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum.” So, that leaves us with Silva and GSP, who fit perfectly into the two categories.
St-Pierre has steamrolled his last seven opponents by executing the exact same grounded game plan. It’s a formula that everyone on this side of duh knows is coming – including all of his victims who happen to be the division’s elite – however nothing can be done about it. He’s separated himself from his peers more than any other current title holder, and it’s not even close. That’s pretty dominant.
While most believed Silva had lapped his middleweight division, Sonnen proved that his lead on the field isn’t quite as cushy as it once was. However, that doesn’t take away from his prior accomplishments or the devastation that he’s capable of. If anything, it added another element to his superior overall game by showing he can dig down deeper than any other fighter to muster up a win.
Furthermore, Silva is arguable the sport’s deadliest striker, however was forced to unleash his complete repertoire in order to escape with a spectacular submission win. His diversified game makes him nearly impossible to prepare for, making him the world’s most complete mixed martial artist.
Don’t worry, these titles change after every event these three studs participate in. I’m also well aware WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will be forcing his way into the conversation shortly.