Comparing the top fighters in MMA for May 2011
We’ve long hoped to see a fight between Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre. We thought it would be the ultimate super-fight, a way to truly see who the best fighter in the world is while watching both men etch their superb careers even further into the annals of history.
After UFC 129, we’re not really interested in seeing that fight any more. It doesn’t hold the same kind of intrigue, not after you’ve seen St. Pierre struggle with Jake Shields and realize that the much-larger Silva would almost certainly have his way with the current welterweight champion.
Let’s take a look at our pound-for-pound rankings after UFC 129:
It’s becoming obvious that we’re not going to see Silva face Georges St. Pierre, and that’s fine. We’ve gotten to the point where we’re not sure how well St. Pierre would do in a fight against the much-bigger Silva, anyway. Instead, the pound for pound king will focus his attention on Yushin Okami, who he’ll face in the main event of UFC 134 in August. Okami was the last man to beat him. Sure, it was by disqualification, but you don’t have to put that in the marketing materials.
2. Georges St. Pierre
St. Pierre had yet another listless and boring outing against Jake Shields at UFC 129. He keeps telling the world he’s going to start finishing people, and then he goes out there and throws a few jabs and an overhand right every once in awhile. It’s a boring style and the proud Canadians in attendance didn’t appreciate it one bit. St. Pierre is still a dominant fighter, but he’s going to need to start exerting more effort to make a statement if he wants to remain this high on our list.
3. Jose Aldo
An illness left Aldo looking lethargic in his title defense against Mark Hominick, but he still did enough to dominate four rounds out of five. His next fight will come in the main event of UFC 133 against Chad Mendes, a powerful wrestler who might have the skills to keep the Black House fighter on his back.
4. Frankie Edgar
Edgar’s rematch with Gray Maynard is coming up in just a few short weeks, where he’ll have yet another chance to prove he’s the best lightweight in the world. For the first time in a long time, Edgar is going into a fight as a favorite. If he can avoid the kind of first-round shellacking he received from Maynard in January, he has a good chance of proving the doubters wrong yet again.
5. Jon Jones
Jones was scheduled to face Rashad Evans in the main event of UFC 133 in Philly this August, but pulled out to undergo surgery on a muscle tear in his hand. It sounds like a painful recurring injury, and fixing the problem now is probably the right decision for Jones, no matter how badly we wanted to see him face his former teammate.
6. Jon Fitch
Fitch is out for quite some time with a shoulder injury. When he returns, we expect a rematch with the also-injured BJ Penn to be his first order of business. A potential bout with Jake Shields would be intriguing for fans of hard-nosed grappling.
7. Dominick Cruz
Cruz’s long-awaited rematch with Urijah Faber is finally official. The pair will main-event UFC 132 in Las Vegas this July with Cruz’s bantamweight title on the line. Faber dispatched Cruz in 90 seconds the last time around, but Cruz is a completely different fighter now than he was three years ago.
8. Nick Diaz
Diaz has effectively cleared out the Strikeforce welterweight division, and it looks like we’re going to get our first true UFC vs. Strikeforce dream match with Diaz facing Georges St. Pierre. Dana White is hard at work on making that fight happen, and we could see it in the fall. Diaz and his relentless style would, at the very least, force St. Pierre into an actual fight, something he hasn’t seen in quite some time.
9. Gilbert Melendez
Melendez yearns to face Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard or any other top UFC lightweights, but he’ll likely have to wait until 2012 for it to become a reality. A much more likely option is the possibility of seeing a top UFC lightweight go to Strikeforce to challenge Melendez, either for the title or simply for bragging rights. Jim Miller, anyone?
10. Lyoto Machida
Machida’s Daniel-san crane kick sent Randy Couture packing into a violent retirement at UFC 129. That was the version of Machida that everybody believed to be unbeatable, and if that version of Machida shows up again and again, he’s going to be a handful for anyone in the light heavyweight ranks – and yes, that includes Jon Jones.