In Mir's opinion, World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion Miguel Torres is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and since I've heard from a couple of readers who think I have Torres too high in my own MMA pound-for-pound Top 10, I figured now would be a good time to pass along what Mir told me.
For starters, although Mir said he believes Fedor Emelianenko is the best heavyweight in the world, Mir doesn't think any heavyweight in MMA has a complete enough set of skills to justify being considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
So if it's not Fedor, why is it Torres?
"I think Torres is the most dominating fighter there is," said Mir, who in addition to being the UFC interim heavyweight champ is the color commentator for the WEC. "His one loss, he was fighting a guy (Ryan Ackerman) a lot bigger than him. And then he rematched him and got him in the first round. He's just a killer, he's got that Fedor-like mentality, but I think he has more tools than Fedor. Fedor is nowhere near as smooth in his transitions as Miguel is. Miguel has great hands, and he can kick, and he has great conditioning."
I told Mir my own pick for the best pound-for-pound fighter is UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. He disagreed.
"Anderson Silva I think is extraordinarily talented, but I don't think his submission game is great. We've seen him get caught in heel hooks," Mir said, referring to this loss to Ryo Chonan:
"I don't think he's world class on the ground," Mir said of Silva. "He's world class in stand-up, but even Travis Lutter passed his guard and mounted him. I've never seen Miguel in that kind of trouble -- ever."
And what about UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn, who will fight each other at UFC 94? Mir likes them both, but again, not as much as he likes Torres.
"Georges St. Pierre has the best takedowns and dominant wrestling ability, and he's a great athlete, but he's shown he can be knocked out," Mir said.
"I think B.J. Penn is the better fighter," he added. "He's the great martial artist. He just has that question mark of whether he can go five rounds. If it was a one-round fight I'd pick B.J. in a heartbeat. No question. But can he go five rounds? If he shows up in shape, he wins."
In fact, Mir says that conditioning is the difference between Torres and Penn.
"B.J. is so talented, it's between Miguel and B.J. who are the best pound for pound," Mir said. "But Miguel has phenomenal cardio. When he was at my gym working out before this last fight, he didn't use a clock. He works non-stop for two hours. He'll take a stop to take a sip of water and blow his nose, and then he'll just switch partners. They have to have another partner ready immediately because he'll wear a partner out. His training is amazing."
And that's what makes the WEC bantamweight champion the best MMA fighter in the world. At least according to the UFC interim heavyweight champion.
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