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Going pound-for-pound

Trent Williams | Interrobang | Sports | February 9th, 2009



After the thrashing we seen Georges St. Pierre put on B.J. Penn last Saturday (with all Vaseline issues aside) where does he rank in terms of pound for pound fighters in the world?

Many have him at number one, while many still believe Fedor and Anderson Silva own the top two spots, with GSP in third. Either way, Georges St. Pierre has now vaulted his status into superstardom, and is undoubtedly considered by all a top three pound-for-pound guy.

But that saying “pound-for-pound” what does it actually mean? Many would attribute the title of top pound-for-pound fighter to just the best fighter out there. That is very hard to determine if the fighters don't all fight in the same weight class, and with the weights of GSP, Anderson Silva and Fedor ranging from 170lbs to over 230lbs, how can you say one is better then another?

When I searched the term “pound-for-pound” I found this:

Judging quality purely per pound of weight one fighter is better than all the rest. All things being proportionately the same, which fighter would be the best across all weight classes?

So, if the top pound-for-pound fighter is determined by the person who is the best at each weight class then how can you give the title to anyone?

I haven't seen Fedor or Georges St. Pierre fight in any other weight class but the ones they are currently in. Anderson Silva has but one fight at a higher weight class, and though he won easily, it wasn't against the stiffest of competition, with all due respect to James Irvin.

It appears with his recent win over B.J. Penn, that an Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre fight may be in the works for the near future, and as much as I would love to see this, I don't think that it truly solves anything as far as a pound for pound debate is concerned.

Don't get me wrong on this though, I am all for seeing the two champions square off, I believe it would be an awesome fight, and would truly be the biggest fight in UFC history. But if you ask me, the only thing it would determine is who the better fighter is at 185lbs (assuming GSP would go up and fight at 185 because Silva can't cut to 170).

The real down fall of pound for pound came when it became far too cliché and used for other references that aren't fight related, the pound for pound persona is thrown around way to much, and way to easy for it to be considered serious.

Why not just do away with the pound for pound rankings, and let the top fighters for each weight division be just that, the top of their weight division. Because you know the debate will never be settled, and it is going to be impossible to tell who in fact is the best pound for pound fighter in the world.
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