Choosing the top MMA fighter is a tricky situation. Fighters are split across weight classes and sometimes promotions (though at this point in time, it would appear that the top fighters are all fighting in the UFC). Also, do you go by best current or all-time MMA fighter?
“GSP” is regarded by many as the best pound-for-pound of all time. His only losses were to other top fighters, both of which were avenged. Coming from a unique background that includes Kyokushin Karate, wrestling, jiu-jitsu and boxing, Georges St. Pierre would already have a firm martial arts foundation when beginning his MMA training. This translated into an extremely well-rounded fighter, giftet at striking, takedowns, takedown defense as well as a good defensive ground game.
The other pound for pound all time greatest was well known for striking ability. Silva would play with opponents similar to the way certain gifted boxers (Pernell Whitaker, Floyd Mayweather, etc) had been known to do. He would win the title against a seemingly unstoppable Rich Franklin in what turned out to be a brutal mismatch. Anderson Silva’s unequaled striking overshadowed the fact that he was also a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. This would come in handy in rare occasions against opponents like Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen who had been able to dominate him on the ground. Suffering two losses against Chris Weidman (the latter of which ended in a painful-to-watch shattering of his own shin) has more or less tarnished his record in the eyes of many.
Jose Aldo has been regarded by many (including the official UFC pound-for-pound rankings) as the pound for pound best active fighter. True to the line-up of current top Brazilian fighters, he sports both impressive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and standup skills. Boasting the highest takedown defense ratio in the UFC, he has racked up wins against such opponents as Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber. In fact, he has won his last 18 fights consecutively.
In the estimation of some, Chris Weidman should be considered the de facto “pound for pound” best MMA fighter, given that he handed Anderson Silva two decisive losses. However, another way to look at this is that Weidman has yet to accumulate the number of wins that we see with GSP and Silva. If MMA has taught us anything is that the new up-and-comer is often quickly replaced by an even newer counterpart. Weidman’s “staying power” will determine whether he in fact gains this sort of recognition in the eyes of MMA fans.