Silva asserts himself atop Sherdog pound-for-pound rankings
You don't have to be a die-hard mixed martial arts fan to know that Anderson Silva is the dominant figure in the sport at the moment. And while Silva is a mainstay, other fighters are making their debuts -- and returns -- in this month's pound-for-pound rankings.
Originally Published: March 21, 2008By Sherdog.com
Anderson Silva affirmed his status as tops pound-for-pound with a second-round submission of Dan Henderson earlier this month. And while little changed at the head of the list, new fighters debut in other spots.In:
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
1. Anderson Silva (21-4-0)
Silva, the UFC middleweight champion, demonstrated once again why he's the clear-cut pound-for-pound king. During his dismantling of Dan Henderson on March 1, the 32-year-old Brazilian showed all aspects of his game en route to making Henderson tap out to a choke for the first time in his career. Japan's Yushin Okami appears to be Silva's next UFC challenger, but the 185-pound "Spider" has voiced more of an interest in boxing Roy Jones.
2. Quinton Jackson (29-6-0)
"Rampage" sits firmly in the second spot a couple of notches behind Silva. While a case could be made that the 29-year-old UFC light heavyweight champion belongs at the top following victories over Chuck Liddell and Henderson, "Spider" Silva's destruction of Hendo makes Jackson's five-round decision win against the Greco-Roman Olympian appear less impressive. Jackson, however, has dominated since coming to the UFC, and he will get his highest profile fight as champion when he defends against Forrest Griffin this summer.
3. Fedor Emelianenko (27-1-0, 1 NC)
The former No. 1 P4P fighter seems poised to get back to business. Freeing himself of the impotent M-1 Global, Emelianenko is rumored to be negotiating with several MMA promoters. Regardless of where he ends up, Emelianenko must fight the best challengers if he's going to keep his mantle as the top heavyweight in MMA. The recent performance of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in capturing the UFC heavyweight title reminds us just how good the Russian -- who owns two decisive decision wins over Nogueira -- really can be against top competition.
4. Georges St. Pierre (15-2-0)
The 26-year-old French-Canadian remains in the fourth spot. If he can avenge his loss to Matt Serra this coming April in his home city of Montreal, St. Pierre -- the No. 1 ranked welterweight -- could be considered the most dominant fighter in MMA. If he defeats Serra, a fight with Jon Fitch or Karo Parisyan could materialize in the latter half of 2008.
5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (31-4-1, 1 NC)
If not for Emelianenko, "Minotauro" would be regarded as the top heavyweight in MMA history. As it stands, the 31-year-old Brazilian makes his first appearance in the P4P rankings at No. 5 following his submission over Tim Sylvia. The victory for the "interim" UFC heavyweight crown offered fans who had not followed Nogueira's career during or after his championship reign in Pride a chance to see just how tough and technical he is.
6. Urijah Faber (20-1-0)
Currently standing as World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champion, Faber's near-perfect record and ability to connect with fans immediately made him the best-known mixed martial artist under 145 pounds. The aggressive 28-year-old wrestler has worked diligently on rounding out his game with an improved focus on standup and submission. Faber's next challenge is likely to come in his hometown of Sacramento, Calif., against former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver.
7. Takanori Gomi (28-3, 1 NC)
Japan's perennial lightweight king earned his first victory since Dec. 31, 2006 with a stoppage of Duane Ludwig on March 5. Gomi's overall record is impressive, yet his recent inactivity has angered many fans who feel he's failed to fight the best in the division. The fact of the matter, however, remains that Gomi, 29, owns wins over the bulk of top division talent. A rematch versus B.J. Penn or bouts with other viable 155-pound fighters would go a long way in answering questions over Gomi's spirit to fight.
8. Norifumi Yamamoto (17-1-0, 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. Yamamoto, now 31, stopped Rani Yahya on New Year's Eve, showing once again how explosive he can be. Fighting at a more natural weight (near 135 pounds), Yamamoto could be a quick riser on this list if he is matched with quality opposition.
9. B.J. Penn (12-4-1)
While "The Prodigy" always has had P4P talent, inconsistent performances and confusing excursions into far-too-heavy weight divisions kept him off this list. Having settled in nicely at 155 pounds, Penn has brought the sort of technical dominance that has many fans and fighters alike calling the Hawaiian the best fighter in the sport. Against Sean Sherk in May, Penn has the opportunity to bust into the top three and very possibly challenge Anderson Silva for the top spot if he dominates the steroid-tainted former UFC lightweight champion.
10. Miguel Torres (23-1-0)
Torres is the reason lists like this exist. Recognizing talent across all weight divisions, Torres is the first 135-pounder to make his presence felt. He toiled in obscurity before World Extreme Cagefighting featured the bantamweight class in the United States. Then Torres captured an organizational championship title with a masterful effort versus Chase Beebe. The 27-year-old fighter from East Chicago, Ind., offered a varied and high-paced submission attack before catching Beebe in one of the best submissions this year.