It's a slow Sunday night so it's time to do it again: 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 the sport today.
But it doesn't venture into the dreaded "pound-for-pound" waters.
That's what I'll do here. I haven't done so since Oct. 20, 2011, and a whole lot has happened since then. Click here to check out how my list looked five months ago.
Of course, any rankings list is highly subjective and up for debate. You know the drill; don't hold back one bit if you disagree.
In we go.
10. Rashad Evans (17-1-1)
By the betting lines and general consensus in the MMA world, I may be one of only a few who are picking Evans to pull off the upset when he squares off against Jon Jones at UFC 145 on April 21 in Atlanta. Detractors tend to point towards irrelevant issues when attempting to talk "Suga" down, like when he was caught by Thiago Silva or when an errant knee from Quinton Jackson sent him flying. They ignore that he controlled every single second of those fights until then. He'll have a moment or two of trouble against "Bones" but he'll ultimately take care of business. If he doesn't, no one else will.
9. Alistair Overeem (36-11)
He was one spot lower five months ago and now he's moved up one just to spite his haters, of which there are still many. Here's what I said last time around: "When he beats Brock Lesnar at UFC 141 on Dec. 30, it will only solidify his placement." He didn't just beat Lesnar, he stomped a mudhole in his ass and walked it dry. Brock, by the way, skipped town right after. That tends to happen when fighters realize they just don't measure up to pound-for-pound greats.
8. Ben Henderson (16-2)
What he managed to do against Frankie Edgar was nothing short of astounding. "The Answer" was able to defeat B.J. Penn twice in a row before handing Gray Maynard his first defeat, by knockout no less. Knocking him off, even by close decision, deserves all the accolades "Bendo" is currently receiving. Yes, I can still see the "Showtime Kick" over and over in my head but that rematch is coming and the story will be a lot different the second time out. This is a complete fighter, as well rounded as they come.
7. Junior dos Santos (14-1)
If there's one knock to be made against this Brazilian badass, it's that he's a tad too mysterious. We know he has big power in his hands, we know he can place his punches perfectly on the button and destroy opponents even when he doesn't, but we don't know how he'll react if he ends up on his back and he's unable to get back to his feet. But, of course, dusting Cain Velasquez, who had previously looked unstoppable, deserves a pound-for-pound award.
6. Gilbert Melendez (20-2)
Jorge Masvidal was no match for Melendez when they hooked up last December and there likely isn't a fighter under the Strikeforce banner who will pose a significant challenge to him. The problem, of course, is that he's not moving over to the UFC any time soon, so we can only know so much, namely that he'll crush glorified contenders while waiting for his time to shine on the big stage.
5. Jose Aldo (20-1)
As noted earlier right here, Aldo is so dominant in his division, matchmaker Joe Silva and UFC President Dana White have all but begged a few of the top lightweights to move down in weight to challenge him. Because, let's face it, "Scarface" is probably running through anyone at 145-pounds right now. That right there qualifies him for this spot. The scary part? He might be just as good 10 pounds heavier ... or 10 pounds lighter.
4. Dominick Cruz (19-1)
Speaking of which, Cruz would quite obviously have something to say about that. And he might pose significant problems, too, considering his speed and crafty footwork that no one has been able to figure out yet. Sure, he has a defeat on his record but that was thanks to a reckless streak he no longer possesses. Much like Aldo, he's fast running out of challengers in his weight class and the calls to move up are growing louder.
3. Jon Jones (15-1)
Quite possibly the most gifted athlete in MMA history, Jones looks as though he could dominate both the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions ... at the same time. His combination of size and speed, along with his unorthodox style, has befuddled every opponent he's ever faced. He's also a cold-blooded killer, as evidenced by his choking Lyoto Machida unconscious with a standing guillotine and dropping him to the floor with no feeling whatsoever for his health and well-being. That's not a bad thing, either. He'll have his hands full with Rashad Evans but there isn't much to look forward to after that. Not at 205-pounds at least.
2. Georges St. Pierre (22-2)
No movement here and that's largely because he hasn't done anything since we last visited. I'm not one of those "you have to be active" types, either. We know damn well what we've got with St. Pierre and that's the most well-rounded fighter in the game today, perhaps ever. When he's on and not operating with one eyeball, he's about as good as it gets. Carlos Condit will present a significant challenge to his title but I wouldn't count on getting it fitted for a new waistline.
1. Anderson Silva (31-4)
This position will remain his until someone takes it from him, which doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon. That's because, simply put, he's too good at what he does and there just isn't a chance for him to move up or down in weight to pose a threat to him. He's staying at middleweight and there isn't a 185-pound fighter on Earth who can defeat him. You can tout Chael Sonnen to me all you want, I don't believe for a second he stands a chance when they hook up in Brazil this summer. He's a snowball headed for hell and he can steal as many pro wrestling promos as he wants, it won't save him when he's getting blitzed by the best striker in MMA history.
That's my list, Maniacs. What's yours?