Mark O’ Connor lists the Top Five Pound-For-Pound fighters currently operating in the UFC.
5. Renan Barão
With Barão’s first professional fight came his first professional defeat at Heat FC 3 all the way back in April 2005. Since then he has gone on one of the longest unbeaten streaks in mixed martial arts history, with a 31-1-1 record. (No contest result coming in 2007 against Claudemir Souza) In 2012, the 26 year old became the interim UFC bantamweight champion, by beating Urijah Faber after Dominic Cruz had to vacate the belt due to an ACL injury. Barãos made history by being the only person to defend an interim belt on more then one occasion. In February 2014, Barãos and Cruz will fight to unify the belt in the bantamweight division at UFC 169.
4. Cain Velasquez
Velasquez has dominated the heavyweight division since his UFC debut in 2008, with a quick first round knockout of Brad Morris at UFC 84. He quickly elevated himself through the heavyweight division and won the UFC heavyweight championship from Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 in 2010. Weighing in at an incredible 17 stone, the 31-year-old has and incredible 47% takedown rate from his 14 professional fights. With the most knockouts in the heavyweight division in UFC history (9) and the fact that this division is scarcely light at the moment, it’s hard to see anyone stopping Velazquez anytime soon.
3. Georges St-Pierre
Although St. Pierre has now vacated the title in which he defended nine times; he will still go down as one of the best fighters in his division and in the UFC. With a UFC record of 20-2 and an overall record of 25-2, The French-Canadian has remained unbeaten since April 2007. With a first-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu the 32-year-old thrives on the ground and has won Fight of the Night on four occasions and spent more time inside the octagon than any other UFC fighter at almost five and a half hours.
2. Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva will go down as one of the greatest mixed marital artists in the history of the sport. Even though he is now pushing into his forties, Silva was the longest reigning middleweight champion in UFC history, having won the title back in 2006 defeating Rich Franklin at UFC 64. Since then he has gone on to break nearly very record in the UFC, with the most title defenses (10), most consecutive wins in the UFC (16), most finishes in title fights, (9) the list goes on and on. He has beaten some of the best fighters in the world, knocking out Vitor Belfort and Forrest Griffin and forcing the likes of Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson into submission.
1. Jon Jones
At just twenty-three years old Jon Jones became the youngest UFC champion in history, by defeating Maurício “Shogun” Rua in 2011. Jones is currently 19-1, his only defeat coming by disqualification against Matt Hamill in 2009, a fight in which he was dominating. Other then that, Jones mix martial arts record is flawless. Standing at 6’4, with an enormous reach of 84.5 inches, Jones’ wrestling style has proven to be his biggest attribute along with his defensive skills. Having only been taken down once in his whole career, Jones has fought twenty times. These fights included nine knockout wins and six submissions, with only four of his fights having gone the distance.
Pundit Arena, Mark O’ Connor.
Images: Jon Jones By ericdwheeler [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Cain Velasquez The Doppelganger at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], from Wikimedia Commons. Anderson Silva