Anderson Silva vs Georges St-Pierre, Who Is Pound-for-Pound Best?

November 16, 2010
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Pound-for-Pound Best Fighter on the Planet

It’s an elusive title that typically compares fighters that have little to no chance of fighting each other because of their respective weight classes.

In boxing, it’s very difficult to argue that Manny Pacquiao, after his recent drubbing of Antonio Margarito, isn’t the current pound-for-pound best boxer in the world, if not the best in boxing’s storied history. He has now won world titles in eight different weight classes ranging from 112 to 150 pounds. That’s a fairly wide swing in combat sports.

Anderson Silva vs Georges St-Pierre UFC

Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre

The argument, however, rages on in the mixed martial arts world.

While several names dot the fringe of the argument – Jose Aldo, Fedor Emelianenko, Frankie Edgar, Jon Fitch – the focus centers on two men, Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre.

St-Pierre has lost just twice in his career in 22 attempts, once to Matt Hughes and once to Matt Serra. He has avenged both, even defeating Hughes twice following the initial loss. He’s also bested the likes of B.J. Penn, Josh Koscheck, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, Jon Fitch, and numerous other top tier fighters.

Silva’s record currently sits at 27-4, but he hasn’t lost a fight in more than four years, dating back to before he set foot in the Octagon. His streak sits at 13 straight victories over the likes of Chael Sonnen, Demian Maia, Forrest Griffin, Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, and Nate Marquardt.

Most fans and pundits sit whole-heartedly on one side of the fence or the other. You’re either solidly in St-Pierre’s camp, saying he is the pound-for-pound best, or you’re singing the praises of Silva.

One man who is squarely on the side of Anderson Silva is UFC president Dana White.

“The thing is about Anderson Silva, the guy hasn’t lost since 2006, and he’s actually moved up in weight class and beat guys at 205, too. When people try to argue with me that this guy isn’t the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, it’s crazy,” said White recently.

He makes a solid point. While St-Pierre has defeated many of the top fighters in the world, they have all been in his weight class at 170 pounds. The current UFC welterweight champion hasn’t moved up or down over the course of his career. Silva has.

Winning the Shooto 167-pound divisional title in just his sixth professional fight, by defeating vaunted Japanese fighter Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, Silva has fought at several different weights. He moved up and captured titles at middleweight, dropped back down to compete at 176 pounds, and even bounced up for a couple of fights at 205 pounds, including his utter destruction of Forrest Griffin, a former UFC light heavyweight champion.

In an argument about the pound-for-pound best, it’s difficult to argue against a guy that has fought, like Manny Pacquiao in boxing, at so many different weights.

“Even a fight where he’s getting beat for 4.75 rounds and then pulls out the armbar and wins the fight, that’s the stuff that makes you a legend,” added White, referring to his recent win over Chael Sonnen at UFC 117. “This guy has won by knockout, he’s won by submission, he’s won every way you could possibly win.

“And the other thing people don’t give this guy credit for, he’s 36 years old. I think some people think this guy’s 26 or something. He’s 36 years old and he’s still dominant. Every fight he’s had hasn’t been a highlight reel knockout or whatever, but the guy continues to win and beat the best in the world.”

So does St-Pierre, but again, Silva has done it in multiple weight classes, more often than not with devastating results.

Fans – and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta – have long yearned for a showdown between Silva and St-Pierre, and unlike many fighters that are considered among the pound-for-pound best, these two could actually fight some day.

At 170 pounds, St-Pierre is rather large for his weight class, and Silva, currently ruling the roost at 185 pounds, has fought down that low before. Whether he would or could do it again remains to be seen, but even a catchweight superfight wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for these two kingpins.

But until that fight happens, or one or the other of them falters, the argument will rage on…

Who is the pound-for-pound best mixed martial arts fighter on the planet?

  • Whitey

    At the moment G.S.P.

  • witts

    why is gsp is p4p, atm?
    *silva has successfully defeated fighters above his weight class. also at the time he defeated griffin… griffin was a top 5 lhw.
    *silva has more fights in the past year or so.
    *the last fight gsp has under his belt was against an average fighter at best….. hardy is all hype. hardy’s best win is against swift. enough said about hardy.
    *(don’t bring the “sonnen dominated silva” line) – because he is a cheater and he lost anyway.

    *with that said gsp’s next 3 fights are huge and could give him an advantage in the p4p department but until then silva is still p4p best.

  • Whitey

    r u forgetting G.S.P.’s Total Domination of the then Lightweight champion in B.J. Penn. Also Silva’s last 5 fights (besides Griffin) have been crap. Besides if Jake Shields can beat G.S.P or Koscheck he’ll be the best pound 4 pound fighter in the world.

  • witts

    tho it’s impressive gsp has has some dominating wins against high profile fighters including the hall-of-famer, matt huges… i still think silva is p4p best because he has tested himself against naturally larger fighters and basically ran through everyone in his weight class… and it’s not his fault the middle weight division is not as stacked as the welter weights.

    jake shields beating (gsp or kos) dose not merit him p4p best, imo… he would be the highest ranked ww. it would take no less them him beating anderson silva to give him that title(after his win over gsp or kos)…. shields is/can fight in the mw division. so if he doesn’t fight and win over silva he will always be ranked lower in my book….. i am a fan of shields and i think it is possible for him to do all that but until it does he should not be mentioned in the number 1 p4p…

  • http://MMAWeekly.com Ken Pishna

    Bringing up shields is a good point. He has fought above his weight and done well. Personally, I tend to agree that Anderson has done more to substantiate p4p best just because he has fought up at 205, which is well above where he started in the sport and GSP has constantly stayed put at 170.

  • Beener

    Gsp is a leghumper silva is a finisher nuff said

    • http://MMAWeekly.com Ken Pishna

      Ouch! That one stings.

  • Beener

    by the way gsp can eat rat poison. then poop out that rat poison and eat the poop with rat poison in it. then, just as he is swallowing the last bite, he stops and commits japanese ritual suicide. Doing all of this while violating his anus with a HUGE black dildo.

    • witts

      wow, i thing you said more about yourself with a comment like that.. why so angry?

      • witts

        sorry, not to be misunderstood.. i am saying you made no sense because it has nothing to do with gsp and just showed that you hate him for some reason… hence revealing more about yourself.

  • witts

    if i am correct the whole p4p stamp on a fighter came along, back when you had a fighter outclass, or is just unmatched when it came to fighting others in his natural weight class… along with other criteria as well, of course.
    but the main criteria was a fighters dominance (it was a way to highly recognize a fighter and compare them to other great fighters, in more then just his weight class)… to me silva has accomplished that more then any other fighter.

    to me, the only reason gsp is in the argument is because the ww class is far more competitive and he is still on-top with relative ease…

    in my opinion, the reason why shields is not argumentative in the p4p talk is he hasn’t fought the best of the best(top 5) in the weight classes he has fought in…. excluding 1 maybe 2 (depending on your mma rankings)
    and i’m not saying he cant win those fights, just that he hasn’t…..

    • Beener

      i agree with that. Jake Shields still needs time in the UFC to show if he can even be included in the argument