COMMENTARY | The gap between Anderson Silva and Jon Jones atop the pound for pound list has been closing rapidly with every passing fight. While Anderson Silva has been impressive, Jon Jones has been just a bit more dominant in his one-sided destruction of his foes. Which is why Anderson Silva absolutely must win in devastating fashion against Chris Weidman if he wants to remain the consensus #1 pound for pound fighter in mixed martial arts.
For some, the pound for pound list is a collective body of work. But for others, it is a "what have you done for me lately" list. If you fall into the latter category, the portfolio of Jon Jones over the past three years just might supersede the man who many consider to be the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time.
Since March of 2010, Jones has gone 9-0 while laying waste to five former UFC champions and all but one of those fights ending at the hands of Jones rather than leaving it to the judges. As for Silva, during that same time frame he has gone 6-0 with five of those six victories ending inside of five rounds. The only former UFC champion on Silva's list is Vitor Belfort.
But it isn't just the fact that Jones has upended nine challengers, it is the way he has dispatched of those opponents in comparison to Silva that has had many believing that Jones is very close to becoming the #1 pound for pound fighter in the UFC.
Anderson Silva had a rather unattractive outing against Demian Maia at UFC 112 and struggled for four and a half rounds against Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 before pulling off the Hail Mary of submissions with the triangle choke finish. He impressively destroyed Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami before obliterating Chael Sonnen in their rematch at UFC 148. Afterwards, he easily wrecked a severely over-matched Stephan Bonnar. Meanwhile, Jones has made his victories look easy. He beat Chael Sonnen at his own game (and with a broken toe) and soundly thumped Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans. His only point of danger came at the hands of Vitor Belfort's armbar attempt in the first round of their fight at UFC 152.
The argument can be made that Jones fought an undersized Sonnen and Belfort and Silva only looked underwhelming against Sonnen because of a pre-fight injury, but the truth remains that Jones has proven to be a more well rounded fighter than Silva. All that really stands in the way of Jones taking the #1 spot is time.
Consider this, when was the last time that Jon Jones was in a fight that you had doubts he would win? He's been the prohibitive favorite with most everyone seeing no way of his opponent ending up with their hand raised outside of a lucky punch or the hammer of Thor. Silva was viewed in the same way until the Sonnen fight. And now, with a very dangerous Chris Weidman up next, Silva isn't quite the indestructible force that he is used to being in the eyes of the fans.
Which is why UFC 162 is a very significant fight in the career of Anderson Silva. For the first time in a long time, there are many that believe Weidman has the goods to take out The Spider. Weidman is widely believed to be far better than Sonnen with an underrated jiujitsu game. It is no secret that Silva's weakness is wrestling and Weidman plans to expose that hole in the champion's game. And with so many beginning to lean toward Weidman snaring away Silva's title, it is imperative that the Brazilian make an example out of the young challenger and prove that he is still the best in the world. If Silva happens to struggle with Weidman or barely squeak out a victory, the calls for Jones to take over the #1 spot will grow from light tremors to an inaudible, ground shaking roar.
Anderson Silva must leave no doubt that he's the baddest man on the planet and annihilate Chris Weidman. He has to make us apologize for even considering that Weidman had a chance to beat him. When you are the best fighter in the world, everyone is gunning for your number one spot and sometimes you have to make a statement to remind the skeptics that there is no better fighter on the planet. Winning simply isn't good enough for Anderson Silva. It has to be the most beautiful form of destruction that leaves no doubt. Anything less will surely be scrutinized.
Andreas Hale is a former editor at websites including BET.com and HipHopDX.com. Today, he resides in the fight capital of the world and has covered boxing and MMA for mainstream media outlets such as MTV.com and Jay-Z's LifeandTimes.com, as well as die-hard outlets including FightNews.com, Fight! Magazine, Ultimate MMA, CagePotato.com and others. You can follow him on Twitter (@AndreasHale).
- Martial Arts
- Sports & Recreation
- Anderson Silva
- Chris Weidman
- Jon Jones
- Chael Sonnen
- Vitor Belfort