Yes, I'm doing it: A top 10 rankings list of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world today.
It's a daunting undertaking. After all, what good can come of this? Spirited discussion, I hope, at the very least. That and a better appreciation for the elite fighters in the sport we know and love.
A comprehensive listing of the USA Today/SB Nation consensus rankings can be found here. Comprised of some of the top MMA sites on the Internet, it's a rather informative rankings list of the top seven weight classes in MMA today.
But it doesn't venture into the dreaded "pound-for-pound" waters.
That's what I'll do here. Every now and again, when the time is right to do so, I'll post up my list so you can agree with it or tear it to shreds.
Or course, any rankings list is highly subjective and up for debate. So don't hold back if you disagree.
In we go.
10. Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (17-2)
I can already hear it. "What?!?!? Machida?!?!?!? Just because he blasted through Randy Couture in his retirement fight with a Karate Kid style Crane kick?" Partially, yes. Not just because of who he did it to, nor the situation in which he executed it within, but because he's such a special fighter that he has the capabilities to do such a thing to some of the best fighters on Earth. That kind of special doesn't come along often. It's unclear what's next for Machida but he has risen from the ashes of his first career slump and he could be better than ever. That's a scary thought.
9. Jon Fitch (23-3-1)
Considering this is an inaugural rankings list, I can think of no man that deserves a spot more based on past accomplishments than the Fitchster. Argue if you will that he failed so monumentally once he reached the top of the food chain, his unabashed drubbing of every other challenger, save B.J. Penn, has been nothing short of staggering. And I fully expect he'll win the rematch against "The Prodigy" and he'll do so handily.
8. Cain Velasquez (9-0)
The heavyweight champion of the world is currently riding the pine while he rehabs a shoulder injury that will keep him out until a likely October return against the winner of Junior dos Santos vs. Brock Lesnar. Simply put, Velasquez earns his spot because not only has he cruised to nine wins in as many outings, he's done so with shocking efficiency. His utter and complete destruction of the aforementioned Lesnar, no matter your feelings on Sir Brockness, was especially impressive considering the circumstances. His skill-set is built for a long run at the top.
7. Gray "The Bully" Maynard (10-0-1)
It pains me to place him one spot beneath his arch nemesis, seeing as he is the only man to have ever defeated Edgar and I actually scored him the win in the rematch. His record is spotless and his abilities stretch beyond that of one hit wonder. Maynard is bred to hit the big time and never look back, at least as far as his in-ring talents are concerned. The third, and likely final, bout against Edgar is set for UFC 130 on May 28 and it's in that bout that he shall make his move up the list.
6. Frankie "The Answer" Edgar (13-1-1)
The quintessential underdog, Edgar, even by me and on this list, can't get no respect. Despite his status as the champion in one of the deepest of all weight divisions, and his impressive list of victories, he's still getting counted out on a larger scale. In many ways, it's unfair, but by the same token, he can dispense of all that talk with a definitive victory over his own personal "Bully" on May 28 in Las Vegas. Can he do it? I'm not so sure.
5. Dominick "The Dominator" Cruz (17-1)
Fight fans that follow the UFC and the UFC alone, have yet to be introduced to this man but make no mistake, he is one of the greatest fighters in the world today. Much like Lyoto Machida, the 135-pound division has yet to figure out an effective way to handle his spastic style. His lone loss came at the hands of Urijah Faber in a weight class he no longer resides within. However, he'll get the chance to avenge that defeat on July 2 and if he does, the bantamweight division belongs to him for as long as he would like it to.
4. Jose "Junior" Aldo (19-1)
The man that chased Faber off to the bantamweight division, Jose Aldo, makes his appearance the highest I could possibly rank him and still sleep at night. His abilities are unquestionable, as he possesses a rare mixture of speed, power and agility, along with near impeccable timing and technique. However, I can't seem to get past the fact that he's plying his craft in one of the weakest divisions of the seven major weight classes. In fact, he's defended his title all of three times and there is already talk that he's cleaned out his division. That's just absurd. He'll get the chance to continue his reign of terror against Chad Mendes on Aug. 6 in Philadelphia at UFC 133.
3. Jon "Bones" Jones (13-1)
What this man is able to do when he steps inside the Octagon, against the martial artists he has been able to do it against, is astonishing. His size, combined with his rising skills, make for one of the most dangerous fighters in the world. Ask Mauricio "Shogun" Rua what it's like to get in the cage with this beast. Jones, 23, is on the shelf for a while to heal up an ailing hand but he'll be looking at his first light heavyweight title defense upon his return, possibly against the winner of Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis. No matter which, it's difficult to imagine his coming up on the short end in either hypothetical contest.
2. Georges "Rush" St. Pierre (22-2)
Ah, the welterweight king, still sitting atop his throne after a gutsy performance this past Saturday night at UFC 129 against Jake Shields. Fighting through the adversity he did was admirable but there are those calling into question exactly how impressive it is that St. Pierre has been able to win so many fights without putting a stamp on them. Sure, he's beating the top welterweights in the world, but he's not doing so in the fashion one has come to expect with the otherworldly expectations placed upon him. Is that fair? I would say it is, and it is for that reason, and that reason alone, that he is number two instead of number one. His chance to redeem himself might come in the form of a superfight against Nick Diaz. Or maybe, as much of a stretch as it may be, the man that occupies the top slot on this list.
1. Anderson "The Spider" Silva (28-4)
I defy you to find a flaw in his resume bigger than a flash submission loss to Ryo Chonan. And that was damn near seven years ago. His UFC career is the most impressive in the history of the entire promotion. 13 fights, 13 wins. 11 finishes, including seven (T)KO's and three submissions. Eight title defenses at middleweight and two displays of mastery at light heavyweight. This man has basically done everything there is to do in the UFC, short of taking on a fellow champion and defeating him, as well. That might be the future, if the organization can manage to put the fight together before time runs out. Silva is, after all, 36 years-old. All the more impressive when considering what he's accomplished. Up next is title defense number nine against former foe Yushin Okami. There is no reason to think he won't run away in that fight, as well. Bow down to the king.