Mixed martial arts much like boxing has a question that might never get answered. Who’s the best? Anderson Silva? Georges St-Pierre?
Boxing has dealt with this argument for a couple years now. No matter which side of the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao fence you are on, you’ve heard the argument. Who’s right? Both? In boxing, after Mayweather rolls through another victim the consensus talk is that Manny Pacquiao is scared and Floyd is the man. When Manny Pacquiao destroys his prey, the course of Mayweather is scared rants begin. It goes back and forth. Manny wins, he’s the top guy. Floyd wins, he’s the top guy. And unless something changes in the next year, we might never see an answer for sure. It’s a “Johnny come lately” response. Whomever is fresher in the minds of the public.
MMA is faced with that same issue. While in boxing its a little easier since they are both willing to fight at 147lbs, in MMA the two top men are in different weight divisions.
Anderson Silva just came off a solid if not spectacular victory of Yushin Okami in his home country of Brazil. One of the biggest UFC events in history and on that grand stage Silva knocked out Okami. So now the buzz is that Anderson is the number one guy in MMA. But not so fast… Just last April, Georges St-Pierre dominated former Strikeforce Light-Heavyweight champion Jake Shields in his home country of Canada. The talk of the town then was that GSP was the best in the world. So which is true?
The world of mixed martial arts has been clamoring for a Silva Vs GSP fight for a while now. Yet, neither is really willing to make that sacrifice to go between the weight divisions. Either up or down in weight. So if they never get in the cage together how will we know who should be the real number 1? Who’s the pound for pound king?
Rather than continue this back and forth of who is the best, I’m going to tell you who is number one and why.
The whole discussion comes down to one thing… In fact, one man. His name… Chael Sonnen.
Make no mistake about it, Anderson Silva’s last round miracle versus Sonnen is what adds to his lore. Adds to his legend. He pulled the victory out of the clutches of certain defeat. Behind on every scorecard 4 rounds to none. Silva got Sonnen in his Achilles heel so to speak. You see, Sonnen has tapped out to a triangle choke in a majority of his defeats. In fact, he is now and has always been susceptible to the maneuver. But Silva won right? Yes. But we aren’t talking about his title, we are talking about his legacy.
On the other side of the coin, GSP? Pure dominance. While St-Pierre doesn’t finish opponents with the frequency of Silva he doesn’t get in trouble either. Shields, Koscheck, Hardy, Alves, Penn… All dominated. BJ Penn was stopped and the rest were easily out pointed in unanimous decisions. Not in trouble and not even challenged in most of those fights. He makes it look easy. In fact, so did Silva in every fight except the Sonnen fight.
In a dream world, we wouldn’t be having this talk because they would just get in the cage and get it on. But since this is a debate over best in the world in a figurative sense then so be it. But a win is a win right? Not when you are judging best in the world. It’s like NCAA football rankings poll. If Florida blows out A&M by 50 points they move ahead of Oklahoma who might have beaten Tech by 13 points. Of course that is all just an example and not a real comparison but its the same. How you win is more important.
Bottom line is that Georges St-Pierre is the pound for pound king. Truth is that if Sonnen doesn’t get greedy and go for the ground and pound. Plays it safe. Sonnen is the UFC Middleweight champion right now. I’m sure Chael doesn’t need help in the self-promotion department but in this case, he did give Silva everything he could handle and then some. Silva might have won and no, it was not luck but it was far from impressive. Highlight? Sure. Impressive? No.
In the real world a win is a win. Simple. Anderson Silva is still the face of the UFC’s Middleweight division. And deservingly so. This is not a debate on Anderson’s credibility. Not at all. He is the man and the class of his division. His knockout of Belfort was something that left no doubt in many’s mind that he is as good as advertised. But with the Sonnen fight, not to mention the Maia disgrace in Abu Dhabi, for now Georges St-Pierre has the crown.