UFC’s Anderson Silva lost his middleweight championship to Chris Weidman in an epic upset, but when Silva dropped his hands and foolishly toyed with Weidman, “The Spider” lost something else far more difficult than the championship belt to gain back.
Silva lost the mythical title of best MMA pound-for-pound fighter in the world. In the UFC rankings, Silva dropped to No. 3, behind UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, respectively. Among fans, in true bandwagon fashion, suddenly “Silva was never really that good.”
Like iTunes Top 10 downloads, Grammy winners and the Klitschko boxing brothers, pound-for-pound rankings are just kind of there. They don’t really mean anything or shed any light on who the best really is.
Pound-for-pound lists shouldn’t even be written down. Sure, we all like to wonder what would have happened if Muhammad Ali fought Mike Tyson. Or if Sugar Ray Robinson was better than Joe Louis. In MMA, fans wonder if Fedor Emelianenko was really the greatest heavyweight of all time. Could he have beaten Brock Lesnar? (duh, yes).
Now that Silva lost is St-Pierre really better than him? Pound-for-pound rankings have people debating such nonsense as whether UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, ranked No. 4, is better than UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, No. 6.
What do you think would happen if Velasquez got into the cage with Aldo? Velasquez would need a fly swatter and about 30 seconds. Pound-for-pound rankings are supposed to have us ponder questions like if Aldo was a heavyweight would he be better than Velasquez?
Actually, if Aldo was a heavyweight, he wouldn’t be Aldo. There’s no way he could glide around the cage or maintain the constant pressure that he does if he were 225 pounds.
Is UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson better than Velasquez just because Henderson is ranked No. 5?
What about Jones being No. 1? Does Bones Jones know that he’s 6-foot-4 and should be fighting in the heavyweight division? Fighting as a light heavyweight, he’s like the kid who’s a foot taller than everyone else throughout school because his mommy and daddy held him back to give him an unfair advantage over everyone else in physical education and math class. (Read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell). It’s just not fair.
Who thinks Velasquez would fold up Jones like a lawn chair if the two stepped into the cage together?
When it comes to fighting, size matters. And so do styles. Weidman can knock out Silva, but would probably have an extremely difficult time with St-Pierre. Silva, however, would likely have the kind of style that would give GSP a lot of problems.
There is no pound-for-pound greatest fighter in the world. There are a lot of really good fighters and a just a few great fighters. On any given day, anybody can beat anybody. Anything can happen when two men or women step inside the cage (especially when one of them puts his hands down and dares the other one to hit him in the face).