If you look around the web or ask someone who they think the best pound for pound fighter in the world is, the answer will almost always be, Anderson Silva, and for good reason. But what happens when you ask who second or third place should be? You will almost always get Georges St. Pierre and Jon Jones. However, which order they come in will vary depending on who you ask and where you look. The further down the list you look, the more differences you will come across between sources. Why is that? I mean we can all look at the same records and we all see the same fights with the same outcomes. What makes one person's opinion different than another's? There are an infinite number of possibilities. After all, they are opinions and everyone has one. What I am going to try and do is shed some light on what the main reasons are that make these rankings vary.
1. Rankings are subjective in combat sports
This is number one and it is probably the most obvious. In other professional sports such as basketball or football, rankings are very easy to understand. If team A has a better record than team B, then team A will always be ranked higher regardless of who they have played. In the MMA world, we constantly have to take into account who fighter A has fought, how he finished or didn't finish those fights, and compare that with fighter B. That is where a lot of people have different opinions on how "impressive" a fighter has been and it directly impacts their decision to rank that fighter.
2. Past versus Present
This is a big one for me and it is why I think there is controversy over who should hold the #2 spot in the rankings between Jon Jones and Georges St. Pierre. It is a talk about legacy versus what a fighter is presently doing. Now there is no doubt that GSP is still dominating the competition, but people will always call into question his finishing ability where Jon Jones is dismantling everyone that steps inside of the octagon with him. For me, I believe a fighter has to still be dominant to hold their rankings, and GSP does, so that coupled with him dominating much longer than Jones has is why I would rank him ahead of Jones still.
Those are the two big ones when it comes to ranking pound for pound fighters in my opinion. The differing opinions of different fighters along with how high people rank legacy along with present performances. I will go ahead and toss in my top 5 pound for pound rankings with a brief explanation of why I have chosen these fighters.
1 - Anderson Silva
This is a no brainer for 99% of the MMA world. Silva is just flat out dominant. He has ruled the UFC middleweight divisions since 2006, and that run includes three dominant victories in the division above his weight as well. His legacy along with his invincible aura are why Silva has been topping the charts for years.
2 - Georges St. Pierre
This is where my list differs from a lot around the web, but still agrees with some. GSP has been the Welterweight champion for years now and has been on a very long streak dominating opponents left and right. He is widely considered the best Welterweight to ever live. Jon Jones is certainly making a case for this spot, but until GSP loses, or Jones can prove that he can maintain this dominance for the stretch that GSP has, I can't put him here.
3 - Jon Jones
Jon Jones took the 205 division by storm and he isn't looking back. He is stopping contender after contender, many of which are previous champions. He looks unstoppable right now. If he can keep this up, I think we may be watching the best fighter on the planet in the making.
4 - Jose Aldo
Aldo is dominating the UFC Featherweight division and has been making it look easy in most of his fights. He has awesome wins but I wasn't officially sold on his skill level until he got a hard fought victory over former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. This fight showed me that Aldo can infact hang with the best fighters in the world.
5 - Cain Velasquez
This is another spot where many will disagree with me. Especially with fighters like Cruz, Barao and Ben Henderson still left on the table. But I am going to stick to my guns. Cain Velasquez is the best fighter in the world at Heavyweight. He proved that Dos Santos was not the superior fighter and their second fit told us a lot more than their first fight did. Other than that one second mistake, Velasquez has dominated this division and I expect him to keep on dominating for some time.