With Yahoo! Sports releasing their top 10 list this week and ESPN releasing their inaugural "Power Rankings" (cough, bull****, cough) I thought it was time I released my own ideas about the ten best fighters in the world. I'm sure my top 2 won't surprise anyone but after that I bet I'll spark some debate.
1. Anderson Silva - Most dominating fighter to come around in a long time. He'll be out of commission for awhile having fought fairly recently and undergoing surgery of an undisclosed nature. However, his striking is unparalleled, he is very resourceful on the ground, and he has simply dominated everyone put in front of him over the past year plus.
2. Georges St. Pierre - After exacting revenge on Matt Serra for stealing his title a year ago "Rush" looks poised for a long reign as the UFC welterweight champion. When he is confident he has the skills and athleticism to win against anyone the UFC puts in front of him. The question is if he can maintain the same focus now that he has the title back. A fight with Jon Fitch looms and after that there are a number of contenders and even a possible super fight with Anderson Silva.
3. BJ Penn - Total headcase but uber talented. When his mind is right he can accomplish anything even with below average conditioning and athleticism. His skills are so razor sharp no one at 155 has been able to touch him (although Sherk's physical presence and stamina may finally pose a threat, but without being on the juice there's alot of skepticism about that) and could probably still be a contender at 170 but that is unlikely to happen anytime soon with the UFC planning on throwing all their up and coming stars at Penn over the next year (assuming Penn can hold on to the title). It will be interesting to see how Penn handles being champion.
4. Fedor Emelianenko - Hasn't fought a real fighter in over a year but with his aggression and skills in such a huge package it's hard to believe many heavyweights could give him a real run for his money. His fight against Tim Sylvia will be very telling but all around is a top 5 fighter as of today.
5. Quinton Jackson - To be honest 5-7 is all interchangeable but since this is a list I'll try to make some sense of these next three picks. I'll put Quinton here simply because he's beaten better fighters on a more consistent basis than the next two and he's a champion. However, none of these 3 are well rounded but Jackson's wrestling and heavy hands gives anyone a handful no matter what your strengths are.
6. Antonio Rodrigo Nogeuira - Again, a champion in his weight class who has fought some better fighters recently puts him ahead of number 7 but not much else. A totally one dimensional fighter but so good at BJJ and competent standing up that he can win any fight no matter what position he's in as he's proved in 2 of his last 3 fights against Heath Herring and Tim Sylvia.
7. Urijah Faber - The only reason he's number 7 is because he hasn't fought many people of note to get to be champion. He is an amazing wrestler with good power but it's hard to measure his skills when he hasn't fought people who really test him. However, his fight against Jens Pulver will legitimize one of these two at 145. If Urijah wins he could catapult all the way to no. 5 in this list in my opinion but if Jens wins (and he is undefeated at 145) it will immediately land him on top of the division.
8. Dan Henderson - Although losing back to back to Jackson and Silva are nothing to be upset about it does leave him in an awkward position in the sense that he's already lost two title fights (which are his only two fights) since joining the UFC and has a long road to travel to get back into either title picture. He's sort of stuck in the same position as Rich Franklin although Franklin can move up but Henderson has already lost viability in two weight classes. Henderson is on this list because outside of Jackson and Silva he could beat anyone else in either division on any given night but he just couldn't beat the champs.
9. Jon Fitch - He has won his last 15 matches in a row against some serious competition and looks like a real threat to GSP. He is a complete fighter with great wrestling, solid standup, and improving BJJ. He is probably the fastest rising fighter in the world and looks like he will be a star for a long time to come.
10. Randy Couture - This is somewhat of a sympathy vote as he has been out of action for some time now however he looked dominant in his last two fights at heavyweight. His wrestling and dirty boxing are second to none and would probably still be the champion if he hadn't run into legal issues with the UFC. I would love to see Randy and Fedor settle the score for best heavyweight in the world but it looks like that may never happen. Randy will have to come off the list sooner rather than later due to inactivity but he had to be on the initial list after his accomplishments in two weight classes.
Others receiving consideration: Shinya Aoki, Miguel Torres, Norifumi Yamamoto, Paulo Filho,
and Thiago Silva
- Josh Barnett to clash with Pedro Rizzo at the inaugural Affliction show. Not only will people get to see the Fedor v. Sylvia fight but they will also be treated to Barnett's first fight in an American promotion since 2002. This fight is also a rematch from UFC 30 when Rizzo knocked out Barnett before Barnett went on to be a star in the UFC. It should be an interesting fight to see if both of these fighters can get their careers back on track.
- Nick Diaz saves the Dream 3 card. After initial speculation that Diaz would pull out due to injury concerns he is officially fighting this Sunday. Dream needed Diaz on their card because the only other marquee matchup was the Uno v. Ishida fight. While the card is weak overall having Diaz back will dramatically boost the viewership of the show and hopefully provide at least one more entertaining fight to the card.
Alright, that's two posts in one day, I hope you're satisfied and I made up for lost time! Until later,
Soccer kicks and head stomps...