Mixed martial arts fans are split about who the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world is, with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Affliction heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko getting approximately equal support. But UFC President Dana White never misses an opportunity to state his case for Silva:
"If you look at Fedor, Fedor's got power, and he can knock you out, but I wouldn't say he has great stand-up," White said yesterday. "When (Silva) moves, he moves like a cat. His knees and elbows and punches are unbelievable. When he goes to the ground he'll submit you. Anderson Silva is by far the best fighter."
Silva, who will defend his middleweight title on Saturday against Patrick Cote at UFC 90, is my choice as the top pound-for-pound fighter, while I vote for Fedor as No. 2.
The main reason, to me, is that Silva has fought more high-quality opponents, more frequently, in the last few years. Silva has only been in the UFC for a little over two years, and the Cote fight will be his eighth in the Octagon. He's won his first seven in dominant fashion.
Fedor also wins in dominant fashion, he just hasn't done it as frequently recently. His great win over Tim Sylvia will end up as his only fight in 2008, and he fought just twice in 2007, once against a guy who's a lot smaller than him (Matt Lindland) and once against a guy with very little MMA experience (Hong Man Choi).
If Fedor beats Andrei Arlovski in January and then comes back in the spring of 2009 and beats Josh Barnett, I might be persuaded to pick Fedor over Silva. But for now, as long as Silva keeps winning and keeps winning with frequency, I agree with Dana White.