'The Spider' tops Fedor in Sherdog P4P rankings
Who is the best mixed martial arts fighter on the planet, regardless of weight? Could it be a heavyweight? Sherdog.com weighs in with their expert picks in their pound-for-pound rankings.
An incredible run by UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, combined with a long period of inactivity by Russian heavyweight stalwart Fedor Emelianenko, has resulted in a shakeup at the top of Sherdog.com's pound-for-pound mixed martial arts rankings. What does the rest of the list look like?
1. Anderson Silva (20-4-0)
After several false starts and unexpected upsets, Silva has put together the most impressive streak of his career during a period of monumental upset and inactivity. The only blemish on Silva's record in his past nine fights is his infamous disqualification loss to Yushin Okami, but that one result is hardly enough to prevent him from taking the top spot. Beyond that mishap, he has steamrolled his competition. Moreover, three of his past four wins have come against firmly entrenched, high-standing top-10 fighters. Silva's ability to maintain his pound-for-pound status might be somewhat diminished by the fact that there aren't too many top 185-pound fighters at his disposal and the ever-present fear that a flake still resides deep within "The Spider." Only time will tell whether the other shoe will drop for MMA's middleweight king.
2. Quinton Jackson (29-6-0)
Let there be no mistake, there is certainly a case for putting "Rampage" atop this list. Jackson, alongside Silva, seems to be the only top fighter beating other top fighters in a stretch of upsets and inactivity. His back-to-back wins over Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson are certainly sterling. With a steady crop of elite light heavyweights for him to feast on, Rampage has more potential to strengthen his pound-for-pound status than any other fighter on the list. An injured right hand, however, will keep Jackson out of action until spring 2008.
3. Fedor Emelianenko (26-1-0, 1 NC)
Mixed martial arts' most enduring pound-for-pound figure falls from his throne without even lifting a finger. Nothing has changed for "The Last Emperor" except the only really crucial aspect to this list: fighting solid competition. Although Emelianenko's second win over Alexandre Franca Nogueira and his triumph over "Cro Cop" Mirko Filipovic are not ancient history, his only remotely meritorious heavyweight victory in the past two years was over Mark Hunt. Emelianenko recently eschewed pound-for-pound status, saying at the M-1 news conference that he didn't think he was the best fighter in the sport because he had yet to face the bulk of top heavyweights. If M-1 can corral some top heavyweights for Emelianenko to fight, at least he will have the opportunity to renew his reign atop the pound-for-pound rankings. If not, he'll be hard-pressed to regain his No. 1 perch. Fans will get their first chance to see Emelianenko fight for M-1 in February.
4. Gilbert Melendez (13-0-0)
"El Niño" embodies the spirit of the pound-for-pound prizefighter. After breaking out in 2005 as one of the best featherweights in the sport, Melendez essentially was forced out of the division when long-reigning Shooto champion Nogueira chose elective surgery over facing him. More significantly, Melendez jumped back up to 155 pounds without missing a beat and has solidified his spot as one of the best lightweights in the world. Many hope to see him in the mix against the UFC's lightweight crop, but a Strikeforce title bout with Josh Thomson isn't too shabby, either.
5. Dan Henderson (22-6-0)
Is Henderson's gift his curse? One of the most recognizable fighters with dual-divisional clout, the 37-year-old former Olympian has told Zuffa repeatedly that he doesn't favor a drop to the 185-pound class. Although additional wins at 205 pounds would only enhance the Team Quest Temecula leader's pound-for-pound stock, his decision to fight as a light heavyweight has produced some measure of difficulty for Zuffa in matchmaking. However, no matter what weight class he ends up in or whom he fights next, Henderson has immediate access to top competition, unlike many of the fighters on this list.
6. Takanori Gomi (27-3-0)
For all his warts, "The Fireball Kid" is the most accomplished lightweight this young sport has ever seen. Although Gomi's unrequited losses to Joachim Hansen, B.J. Penn and Nick Diaz tend to stick out like a sore thumb, he has endured at the upper echelon of his division for seven years with several top wins. Only time will tell whether the 29-year-old fighter can continue to accrue those wins for whichever organization he lands in.
7. Shinya Aoki (11-2-0)
Yet another victim of PRIDE's demise, Aoki has solid wins in two weight classes that earn him a pound-for-pound ranking. As the sport trudges onward, though, it is imperative that the 24-year-old submission wizard get back into some kind of action. MMA waits for no man. With the amount of competition in his weight range -- from 155 to 170 pounds -- even without the PRIDE Bushido refugees, the "Tobikan Judan" will quickly find himself overshadowed if he continues to opt for autograph sessions at Club DEEP rather than fights.
8. Sean Sherk (33-3-1)
Another fighter with a respectable resume in two divisions, Sherk seemed poised to reign over the young and vibrant UFC 155-pound class -- until he tested positive for nandrolone metabolite, thrusting him into a fight he has been embroiled in for the past three-and-a-half months. The chips are stacked against "The Muscle Shark" in his formal appeal later this month. If Sherk is suspended, the dynamic lightweight division and the rest of MMA will move on without him.
9. Norifumi Yamamoto (16-1-0, 1 NC)
After establishing himself as a top featherweight, "Kid" jumped to K-1 three years ago and moved up to lightweight for payday purposes. Along the way, he happened to become a superstar in Japan, where he picked up some solid wins. Now, after his failed bid to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Games, Yamamoto is back in MMA. With Fight Entertainment Group looking to create a featherweight division with Yamamoto in mind, the future would seem bright for the 30-year-old fighter, who might finally realize his incredible potential against some of the division's top competitors.
10. Randy Couture (16-8-0)
It was a team effort for "The Natural" to fill the final spot. Couture disciple Forrest Griffin completed the enormous task of knocking off high-standing pound-for-pounder Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in the Brazilian's UFC debut. As a result, Couture's two fantastic wins over Gabriel Gonzaga and Tim Sylvia see him slide in the back door of the list. At 44, Couture doesn't have much time to climb the pound-for-pound ranks. However, the MMA icon could rocket up the ladder with an epic bout against Emelianenko. His fighting status is in limbo, though, and he might never get that opportunity.