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Anderson Silva: Pound-For-Pound King of MMA?

Anderson Silva is one of the most dominant athletes in any sport. Anderson Silva is one of the most dominant athletes in any sport.

Last weekend Anderson Silva went a long way to proving beyond a doubt that he is the best pound-for-pound fighter in MMA by knocking out Vitor Belfort with a unique left front kick, the likes of which has never been seen in the UFC. I’ve advocated Georges St. Pierre as the best pound-for-pound guy in this space before, but even I’m about ready to sit on the fence after UFC 126 and that spectacular finish. However, things are shaping up to put an end to the ongoing dispute once and for all.

First, let’s stop and think about what happened against Vitor Belfort. The money line on the Silva/Belfort fight had Silva at about -220. That’s a heavy favorite, but not nearly so much as the bookmakers typically have him, which is about -400 or more. In other words, experts whose livelihoods depend on this type of thing recognized Belfort as the most legitimate threat to Silva’s title in a long time.

And what happened? Belfort was out cold mere minutes into the first round. Belfort has some of the fastest hands in the world, and Silva dodged his blows with incredible poise and precision. It looked inhuman.

The knocks on Anderson Silva include his lack of killer instinct, as evidenced in his unwillingness to finish off clearly overmatched competitors like Demian Maia and Thales Leites. But wins are wins, and neither of those guys really came close to threatening Silva.

Chael Sonnen made Silva look human, and was moments away from taking the title after five rounds of nearly complete control of the champ from Brazil. But Silva slapped on a triangle choke from the bottom and made Sonnen tap with less than two minutes left in the final round. Another win.

In the case of St. Pierre, it's been a long time since he was threatened as much as Silva was by Sonnen. And GSP pushes the pace of his fights, unlike Silva, who is prone to sitting back when he's well ahead on points. Both those factors have many people convinced that GSP is the best pound-for-pound fighter out there.

But St. Pierre isn’t a finisher either. And he has a more recent loss on his record, which came back in 2007 against Matt Serra. However, that looked to all the world as if the underdog with a puncher’s chance landed a lucky shot, knocking out the champ by fluke. GSP proved as much by crushing Serra in the rematch, making clear that 99 times out of a 100, a puncher’s chance is barely that.

The Serra fight aside, GSP has 14 wins going back to 2005. Before that, Silva and St. Pierre’s last loss each came in 2004 (not including Silva’s disqualification loss to Yushin Okami in 2006).

In that time, other than Serra, only BJ Penn has been able to step up to St. Pierre’s level. But that was the first fight between the two. The second match was dominated by an ever-improving GSP.

So the battle rages on. But the argument may finally come to a head in 2011. UFC president Dana White has stated that if Georges St. Pierre beats Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto, that GSP will make a move up to 185 pounds and fight Anderson Silva. The two best MMA fighters in the world going toe-to-toe at long last is a tantalizing prospect for fight fans everywhere.

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Highlights from some of Anderson Silva's UFC fights, the most dominant era of his career.
Last modified on Friday, 21 September 2012 18:24

Happy is a regular contributor to RosebudMag.com and has written for various other publications, including Black Belt, Inside Hockey, and FoxSports.com. He transitioned to life as a writer following a decade-long career as a touring musician. He lives with his son in Vancouver, British Columbia

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/hkreter

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