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What Defines "Pound-For-Pound"?


Let’s face it: never in the history of all MMA sites has there ever been a Top 10 pound-for-pound list that we can ALL agree upon without a debate. We’ve seen it hundreds of times: some journalist on an MMA posts “their” version of a p4p list, only to be bombarded with comments full of backlash, such as, “Why is HE at the number 5 spot above THIS guy?”, “This fighter would mop the floor with THAT fighter”, or simply, “What a pathetic list!” FACT: Whether you want to hear it or not, a p4p list is merely a list based on opinions. It can be based on which fighters you like or don’t like at the moment, or it could be based on who you thought won a controversial decision in a fight. That is where the controversy ensues, for the simple reason that everyone has their own opinion, and it may or may not match yours.

On the heels of the recent middleweight title fight between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman, p4p discussions got much more heated than is the norm. Many journalists, who had previously listed Silva at the number 1 spot, suddenly revised their lists, bumping Silva down one, two, or even three spots as a result. Some even went so far as to insert Weidman onto their list. More on that in a moment.

Here are a few questions to ponder first: Assuming Silva was at the number one spot in most fans’ eyes, does his lone UFC loss to Weidman PROVE that he no longer belongs in that spot? Is Weidman now the superior fighter to Silva, with the superior skill set? And what about Jon Jones, GSP and Jose Aldo, the other fighters that for so long have, along with Silva, made up the top 4 spots on the vast majority of p4p lists? And finally, does Silva’s recent loss change the potential result, or box office appeal, of any superfight that he may be involved in? Chances are that we will never get the answer to that last question, if such a fight never comes into fruition. Just something to think about.

I’ve seen it happen way too many times, where people confuse the p4p rankings with the weight class rankings. Case in point: as I type this, yes, Chris Weidman is the current holder of the number one spot in the middleweight rankings. The p4p rankings, however, are a whole different animal. Who would win a fight between Silva and Weidman 9 times out of 10? Weidman needs to win a few more times decisively in order to be considered in the top 10 p4p list, and that includes defeating Silva again (In case you haven’t heard yet, the rematch is set to take place in December). And in turn, Silva needs to lose decisively one or two more times before being bumped down the list. Until then, a few stones remain unturned.

In closing, allow me to explain, by example, the meaning of pound for pound to those who may still not get the gist of it. If I take two random fighters chosen out of a hat, Chad Mendes (145 lb.), and Bigfoot Silva (285 lb.), and lock them in a cage against one another, sure, Bigfoot would probably get the nod in that one, due to his size and strength. However, lets now take the same two fighters, and match them up in a fantasy fight, making them physically the same size and weight, while letting them keep their respective skill sets, then my money would be on Chad. Therefore, Chad would be ahead in the p4p rankings above Bigfoot, at least in MY version of the rankings. My overall point is… well just re-read the first paragraph in this article!

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