At yesterday’s UFC 136 post-fight press conference Dana White was effervescent in his praise for defending lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
“He’s the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, period. The only thing that keeps him from being No. 1 is that Anderson Silva has not been beaten since 2006 and since he’s been in the UFC. Most of the time he’s been champion.
“If you really look at what pound-for-pound means, there’s no way you can deny that Frankie Edgar is No. 2. The guy weighs 145 pounds and he’s beating guys at 155 pounds.”
So, is the UFC president correct in his assessment, or has he jumped the gun a little?
Well, firstly I think we can all agree that Anderson Silva is the undisputed king of the P4P list. The fact that he remains unbeaten in the UFC, winning a record breaking 14 fights in a row in the Octagon and holding the most consecutive title wins (9) leaves little room for doubt there.
Beyond that three other fighters are currently vying for a top three spot on the list – featherweight champion Jose Aldo, welterweight title holder Georges St.Pierre and light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones.
While he continues to win Jose Aldo has looked more vulnerable in his two fights in the UFC so far than he did during his WEC reign and hasn’t fought the same level of competition as Edgar so I’d leave him out of the running for the time being.
Meanwhile Jon Jones has looked head and shoulders above the competition so far at light-heavyweight and now has back-to-back wins over former champions in ‘Shogun’ Rua and ‘Rampage’ Jackson under his belt.
If he keeps going at his current rate then he appears destined to hit the No.1 P4P spot at some stage in his career and I believe wins over two other former champions in Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans should cement his spot at No.2 on the list.
Until then though there is a case to be made for Edgar on a pound-for-pound basis given that he’s undersized in his division while Jones is very big for his. It’s a subject that’s still very much open to debate though.
That leaves GSP, and his resume offers up a compelling case for claiming the No.2 spot. For one thing he’s currently on a nine-fight winning streak, is 16-2 in his UFC career overall, has held the 170lb title on two separate occasions and has defended it six times.
Then there’s the level of competition he’s faced. Essentially he’s fought a who’s-who of welterweight competition and all-but cleaned out the division in the process. Along the way he’s beaten legends like Matt Hughes (twice) and BJ Penn (twice), other former champions such as Sean Sherk and Matt Serra, and a string of current 170lb top contenders like Jon Fitch and Josh koscheck.
Edgar’s resume is impressive too, including also having beaten BJ Penn twice and Sean Sherk once, along with last night’s big win over Gray Maynard.
Beyond that his overall record in the UFC of 9-1-1 and the standard of opposition he’s faced falls a little short of GSP’s.
You could once again argue that Edgar is undersized for his division which makes his accomplishments more impressive, but let’s not forget he hasn’t actually fought at 145lbs yet to prove what he can or can’t do, and there is still talk that GSP could make the move to 185lbs as well which would further enhance his reputation.
Personally I think White is understandably being caught up with the hugely entertaining nature of Edgar’s come-from-behind victories, and perhaps a little put off by St.Pierre’s less than exciting performances of late.
When you take a step back though it’s clear to see that GSP is dominating his opponents and rarely looking troubled in his chosen division however, while Edgar is having to give everything he’s got to ensure the belt remains strapped around his waist.
For those reasons I still believe that GSP deserves to be ranked higher than Edgar on the pound-for-pound list at this moment in time.
Overall though it is great to see that after a long time of it all being about Silva and GSP that we’re finally getting a few new fighters who can make a legitimate claim for the top spots.