Pound-for-Pound. It’s a term subject to debate, a broad range of definitions, and a firestorm of controversy every time it’s brought up. Some people swear by it, some swear it’s useless, but everyone has an opinion on it. Right now, the major debate seems to be whether UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva or UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre deserves the title of “Best Pound-for-Pound Fighter”. Never one to let a controversial subject go past without chiming in, the always-insightful and supremely-controversial UFC President Dana White recently made several interesting comments on where he stands regarding this matter.
Here are the highlights from an MMA Weekly article that saw White say the following: “The thing is about Anderson Silva, the guy hasn’t lost since 2006, and he’s actually moved up in weight class and beat guys at 205, too. When people try to argue with me that this guy isn’t the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, it’s crazy… Even a fight where he’s getting beat for 4.75 rounds and then pulls out the armbar and wins the fight, that’s the stuff that makes you a legend… He’s 36 years old and he’s still dominant.”
It’s been a while since I chimed in on this matter, and I think now is as good a time as any. If you’ll recall, fans and friends, I posted an article entitled “Anderson Silva Has Lost the Pound for Pound Crown” back in August, shortly after Silva rallied back in the dying minutes of the fifth and final round of his showdown with arch-rival Chael Sonnen and tapped out the brash-talking Middleweight with a dramatic come-from-behind Triangle Choke/Armbar combination.
In that original article, I basically talked at length about how Chael’s domination of Silva up to that point was good enough to give Georges St. Pierre the ever-so-slight edge he needed in order to take the crown away from “The Spider”. St. Pierre has consistently looked incredibly dominant in every single one of his fights since losing to Matt Serra in 2007, while Silva’s reign of destruction faltered with lukewarm defenses against Patrick Cote, Thales Leites, and Demian Maia in addition to the one-sided thrashing he received at the hands of Chael. But something immeasurably important happened shortly after that article saw the light of day.
Just in case you missed one of the biggest scandals of the year, I’m talking about Chael Sonnen testing positive for steroids in a post-fight drug test after losing to Anderson Silva. Not only did the positive test put Sonnen’s credibility in doubt, it potentially turned a career-defining performance into a career-defining controversy. It’s also the chief reason my opinion on this subject has changed.
This is my opinion on the matter: if you’re chemically enhanced it doesn’t matter what you accomplished. You cheated, plain and simple. Your victory means nothing, and for Chael Sonnen, it means even less because he didn’t even win. So, right now, I think the pound-for-pound debate is back to being way too close to call. Both Anderson Silva and George St. Pierre are incredibly gifted and incredibly dominant champions, and I’m proud to call myself a huge fan of both men. So I’ll bide my time and revisit this argument once both men get through their upcoming championship defenses.
But make no mistake, I’ll be monitoring those fights closely. GSP’s performance against Josh Koscheck and Anderson Silva’s performance against Vitor Belfort will both play crucial roles in the continuing pound-for-pound debate. I still believe that GSP could overtake Silva, but I also think that Silva could keep his crown for a long, long time. It’s going to be a very interesting couple of months if, like me, you too just can’t help but get into the pound-for-pound fervor.
And what about you, fans and friends? What’s your feelings on the pound-for-pound debate in general, and Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre in particular?