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The Best Pound-for-Pound Fighter in MMA Is…Jose Aldo

On the strength of  his last two performances alone, it’s hard to argue that Jose “Junior” Aldo has any peer as the most well-rounded fighter in MMA.

Aldo combines superb defense with an offensive onslaught and work rate second to none in the game.

His clinical dissection of Manny Gamburyan last night at WEC 51 was a textbook example of how a martial artist should go about his dangerous business. Aldo began the fight by measuring Gamburyan and allowing him to take a couple of shots. Once he gauged the proper distance at which to operate, Aldo began (much as he did against Urijah Faber) to soften up his opponent with a series of uniquely powerful and accurate kicks to the lead leg. When Gamburyan adjusted his footing to compensate, Aldo was suddenly in familiar territory – leading the dance and marking time until he could move in for the finish.

You may argue that a “great” fighter would have finished Faber when the “California Kid” was clearly disable during their title tile, but Aldo begs to differ.

“Sometimes it is difficult to finish the fight, but I always try,” Aldo said following his brutal victory over Faber. “In this fight I tried very hard finish, but Faber is a warrior. I don’t know how many guys would still be fighting after so many kicks. He is a great fighter.”

There are those who would place Georges St-Pierre a notch above Aldo on the P4P ladder, and the argument is certainly valid, but Aldo holds the edge by a wide margin in the one attribute fans like to see most in a fighter – pure, unadulterated style.

While aficionados of MMA can make room in their thinking for wrestling, nothing makes for an exciting fight like stand-up skills, and Aldo has them all in spades. His manager, MMA super agent Ed Soares, knows a little about what it takes to achieve greatness in the cage.

“Jose trains a lot from his back. He is a black belt in jiu-jitsu from one of the best jiu-jitsu schools in Brazil,” Soares said. “He always puts himself in those types of situations a lot during training, so he feels comfortable regardless of where the fight takes place.”

We may find out at some point how well Aldo fights from his back, but it will take someone to put him there, and that seems unlikely for the immediate future.

“In the first round I was just studying to see what I could do, and then in the second round I put all the work that we’ve done in the gym into the cage, and I was able to knock him out,” Aldo said via his translator. “If it’s up to me my reign will last forever.”

In MMA, forever is rarely “forever,” but in Aldo’s case, it may be a very, very long stretch indeed…

  • Currently it is hard to think of anyone else who is a better p4p fighter than “The Brazilian Cobra”, however I think just like we did with Urijah and Miguel Torres, we might be jumping the gun on dubbing him that so early in his title reign. Both the aforementioned fighters were on absolute tears and then came up against some losses. Currently I dont see anyone able to challenge Jose but 145 is still forming as an overall division. We never saw Mike Brown as a threat to Faber and look how that turned out. Bowles was impressive but we all figured Miguel would dispatch him just as he had everyone else. oops. I love Jose and I cant wait to see how his career continues to grow as he’s only 24 and getting better all the time. I would love to see him beat Hominick, the winner of Grispi vs. Koch and then move up to 155 to take on Cerrone or to the ufc to take on say…..Charles Olivera or Evan Dunham.

    The possibilities are endless.

    Well-Done. Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  • Sykotick says:

    I don’t quite think so….

    Aldo is a BEAST (a small beast but a beast none the less) but I don’t quite think he is the best fighter in the world.

    Yeah he is absolutely unstoppable at his weightclass but if he were naturally, say a middleweight, I don’t think he would fair well against those wrestlers. They would be too strong I’m sure.

    Then again that’s the beauty of pound for pound rankings, its all speculation but for my money, he is top 5 but not tops

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  • Creature says:

    I am a strong believer that GSP is p4p best right now, aldo id say is 2nd or 3rd, if he does decide 2 ever move up in weight class he needs 2 move to the UFC, lets see how he fairs against BJ penn, kenflo, maynard, or edgar before i put him about GSP.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1


    Personally I don’t care too much about p4p rankings-It’s too wide open with too many variables-I can say this though-Aldo comes to finish his opponents-something that I will always enjoy watching from a champion regardless of weight class

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  • Rich S. says:

    It seems like, the smaller you are, the higher you are on a p4p list.

    Aldo is great, and no doubt the best in his division right now, but I think it’s quick to put him past guys like GSP, who has had only two faults in his entire career and avenged them rather easily, or Anderson Silva, who has gone 12-0 since joining the UFC (which happens to house the best MW’s in the world).

    Everyone’s a little annoyed with Anderson right now, but I just can’t justify putting anyone over him on a p4p list.

    superdavenorcal is right. We are quick to put someone at the top of our list after seeing a few knockouts, but it could all be gone in one night, just like it was for Faber, Torres, and Brown.

    One thing I do find interesting is that it’s obvious that Aldo is actually getting better. He seems to be taking title contenders out easier than he took out the guys in his first couple WEC fights.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  • danw84 says:

    I say Aldo should cut to 135, win that title, then go up to WEC’s 155 division and take that title, then head over to the UFC, bulk up to 265 and kick Lesnar’s ass.

    Definitely the way his career should go.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  • crane_style says:

    I think how you dominate your weight class is a major factor in p4p discussions, and based on that, Aldo is up there.

    But longevity and the class of competition is also worth a lot. Aldo has been dominate at the top long enough to move up that list, but he’ll have to beat bigger names than “Manvil the Anvil” before you can rank him ahead of GSP and Silva.

    It seems Aldo has cleaned out his division. If he wants to start building a legacy as a great fighter, I think he should do one or two more fights at 145, then go out to 155 and if he can win that title, move on to the UFC. I’d love to see him and Ben Henderson go at it.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  • Lethal Liquid says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Weak-Sauce. Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  • Lethal Liquid says:

    I meant to put Aldo in the 3rd spot moving Shogun out

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  • I would actually say A Silva is the best, with Jose behind him, then GSP and here’s why. GSP hasnt been finishing people lately, let alone in the early rounds. To say Aldo needs to beat bigger names than Manvil is kinda ignorant considering that GSP’s last dominant victory was a man who had no business in the ring with him but the UFC was out of good options. Sadly Jose and GSP are in similar boats, dominant champs with no real challenges on the horizon. But in order for me to consider anyone the best in the world they need to finish fights not lay on people for 5 rounds and make two sub attempts.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  • elkymbo says:

    Pound for pound discussions are rubbish anyway. He’s the best in his division and that’s it. Move him up to 155 in the ufc and se how he goes. That’s if he really wants to prove himself. Until then he’s just beating up midgets as far as I’m concerned.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  • s00nertp says:

    Aldo is top 5 for sure. The only other pfp in my eyes is GSP & Fedor.

    Anderson S. isn’t going on my list with all the absurd antics he does, and the lack of a real challenge in his recent opponents (until Chael anyway, all of his opponents had basically failed vs everyone)… compared with the superb challengers GSP, Fedor, and now Aldo has fought.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  • Creature says:

    Id love 2 see henderson vs aldo, id go with ben 4 number of reasons but if aldo could beat him he should go 2 UFC and fight a top 3 contender or title holder there considering ben henderson is easily a top 10 lightweight in the world, prolly top 5

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • crane_style says:

    Kinda ignorant? Once you get past Faber and Brown, what top level fighter’s scalp has Aldo claimed?. ‘Manvil the Anvil’ is a decent fighter, but hardly a name feared and respected.

    In contrast, GSP has defeated legends and cleared out his division twice. It isn’t Aldo’s fault that the WEC’s 145 division isn’t as strong as the UFC at 170, but to get up the p4p ladder, that’s the sort of thing you have to get past.

    You can argue about if Hardy belongs in the ring with GSP, but I wouldn’t rate Gamburyan any higher.

    And sure, the kind of dominance a fighter shows and the speed at which he beats opponents are both factors in assessing p4p rankings. But GSP has been totally dominate in every fight since the loss to Serra. It’s true that of those 7 wins, 4 were by decision, but they were still dominant victories over some of the biggest names in the sport.

    But then to say all GSP did was lie on top of Hardy for 5 rounds suggests to me that not only don’t you know much about the sport, you’re also kinda ignorant.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  • Dufresne says:

    #1 Anderson Silva
    #2 Georges St. Pierre
    #3 Brock Lesnar
    #4 ShoGun Rua
    #5 Fedo/

    How in the hell can you have Brock Lesnar in your top 5 p4p? I’m a pretty big Brock fan myself, but until his standup game develops there is no way I can put him that high. His wrestling is definitely world class, but what other skill set does he have that puts him up there with guys that are elite strikers and either elite BJJ or elite wrestlers?

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  • @ Crane-Style, At 26 years old I’ve been watchin mma since ufc 3 so i know the sport fairly well. Ok, I was a little harsh on GSP, but past those two sub attempts name me any other second he was even close to finishing that fight?
    As far as things go, I said your statement was ignorant not you. Try not to take a challenge to a comment as a personal attack, I guarantee your blood pressure will go down a little.
    GSP is bad as hell let’s not mix things but to say he’s beaten legends(as if he’s scoured the world beating only the baddest) is an overstatement. Two legends (hughes and penn) to two legends(Faber and Brown) two super strong competitors( Gsp over Fitch, Aldo over Cub) they seem about dead even. The difference between the two is finishes. Aldo delivers, GSP doesnt. Once GSP starts delivering finishes over the top guys again, then I’ll be happy to tout him as the best in the world.
    Until then he can never be no. 1

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  • Mulletsoldier says:


    GSP has bested a champion or former champion on six occasions (Hughes x 2, BJ Penn x 2, Sherk, and Serra), and has beaten an opponent who was consensus top ten pound-for-pound when he faced them on five occasions (BJ Penn x 2, Hughes (when he took the title), Fitch and Alves). GSP has also avenged both of his losses in routs.

    Jose Aldo has bested a champion or former champion on two occasions (Faber and Brown) and has beaten an opponent who was consensus top ten pound-for-pound when he faced them on one occasion (Brown).

    Given that GSP only has three more fights total than Aldo, any P4P comparison between the two degenerates pretty quickly when one considers the immensely more prestigious competition GSP has faced.

    Also, I hesitate to think your comparison between Cub Swanson and Jon Fitch could be any more silly: Jon Fitch is 13-1 in the UFC, second to only A. Silva in terms of a sterling UFC record; won 8 consecutive fights prior to losing to GSP; and lastly, has not lost to anybody not named “GSP” in seven-and-a-half years.Cub Swanson, on the other hand, lost to Jens Pulver a few fights previous to Aldo, and is 3-3 in his last six – a tough veteran? Indeed. Anywhere comparable to Fitch? Absolutely not.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  • elkymbo says:

    Jon Fitch could have the best record in the world but I still fall asleep in his fights. Simply because of how boring he is is he doesn’t even rate a mention in the p4p ratings.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • Creature says:

    ” a tough veteran? Indeed. Anywhere comparable to Fitch? Absolutely not.” couldnt have said it better myself

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  • @crane style
    well said sir. Maybe Im just critical of GSP. I just want to see more finishes of top opponents. I’ve also started questioning BJs ranking as a top ten fighter for the same reasons I said maybe we’re early on Aldo, just as we were with Faber. My comparison of fitch to cub was graspin. my bad.
    Sorry to comment on such an old post, but Im truly enojyin this discussion. No matter if Im havin it online, or with friends around town, this is one of my favorite mma debates to talk about.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1


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