For decades, boxing observers attempted to pin a Best Pound-For-Pound Fighter label on one boxer. Whether it was Mike Tyson in his heyday, Roy Jones in numerous weight classes in the 1990s, or the current Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather debate, fans wanted to pick one fighter as the best.
It’s the same for MMA, with even more heated debate as the UFC and other smaller promotions begin to dwarf boxing in popularity.
Who is the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet? Many argue Anderson Silva, others say Georges St-Pierre. Jon Jones and Jose Aldo have forced themselves into the mix with dominating performances. Brock Lesnar called himself the Baddest Man on the Planet and it was hard to argue for a while, until both Cain Velasquez and Shane Carwin pounded on him.
There is art and science in our list, and some good ol' down-home opinion based on what fight fan Jack Randall sees in the Octagon.
See the OddsShark Pound-For-Pound MMA Rankings below and check back for updates:
1. Anderson Silva – UFC
Anderson “The Spider” Silva (33-4) has been the dominant Middleweight for nearly eight years. He has 15 straight wins and seems to get better every time we see him. The stunning front-kick knockout win over Vitor Belfort was his most impressive fight to date, but his most recent KO win over Chael Sonnen more than solidified him as the top MMA fighter in the world.
2. Jon Jones – UFC
Jon “Bones” Jones (17-1) has taken MMA by storm with an evolved fighting style and incredible reach that no one has been able to combat. His only loss was a DQ for illegal elbows in a fight he was dominating. Even in the talent-rich Light Heavyweight division Jones looks miles ahead of his competition, beating three former champions in 2011.
3. Georges St-Pierre – UFC
Georges “Rush” St-Pierre (24-2) has been the dominant Welterweight in the world since 2005, and with the exception of Matt Serra landing a lucky shot in 2007 he’s dominated every opponent he’s seen. He’s arguably the best wrestler in MMA and the most complete mixed martial artist. His dominant wins over interim champ Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz have reaffirmed that he is the man at 170 pounds.
4. Jose Aldo – UFC
Jose “Junior” Aldo (22-1) is an absolute wrecking machine at Featherweight. His combination of vicious Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, and athleticism is more than anyone can handle in the division. He remains in fourth on the pound-for-pound rankings after a unanimous decision win over former UFC Lightweight champ Frank Edgar.
5. Dominick Cruz – UFC
Dominick Cruz (19-1) avenged his only professional loss to Urijah Faber and now rules the Bantamweight division. His awkward style and endless cardio are enough to make him the fifth-ranked pound-for-pound fighter today. Out with an injury, it is unclear when the Bantamweight champ will make his return to action.
6. Gilbert Melendez – UFC
Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (21-2) has established himself as one of the top Lightweights in the world. The former Strikeforce Lightweight champion has avenged the two losses in his career and continues to improve every time we see him fight.
7. Cain Velasquez – UFC
Cain Velasquez (11-1) recently regained the title he lost to Junior dos Santos and showed the MMA world that he is indeed the baddest man on the planet. His lone loss was shrouded in rumors of injuries and his five-round beatdown to win the belt back earns him a spot on the pound-for-pound Top 10 as the best Heavyweight in the world.
8. Benson Henderson – UFC
Benson Henderson (18-2) is the current UFC and the former WEC Lightweight champion of the world. He has proven that he is the man at 155 pounds with back-to-back title wins over Frank Edgar and a long list of beaten opponents that includes names like Nate Diaz, Jim Miller, Donald Cerrone, and Clay Guida. His elite technique and mental strength are enough for “Bendo” to slip into the No. 8 spot on the pound-for-pound list.
9. Renan Barao – UFC
With champion Dominick Cruz out with an injury Renan Barao (30-1) has established himself as the best 135-pound fighter in the world. He has gone 30 straight fights without a loss and has already beaten the top UFC Bantamweight competition. If pound-for-pound No. 5 Cruz ever returns to action the matchup will be a super-fight within the division.
10. Demetrious Johnson – UFC
Demetrious Johnson (17-2-1) has established himself as the best little man in MMA with recent wins over the best Flyweight fighters in the UFC. Johnson also contended for the title at Bantamweight, recording wins against some of the best 135-pound fighters.