Monday, August 10, 2009

Top 10 Mixed Martial Arts Fighter

MMA's 10 best pound-for-pound fighters
courtesy of ESPN

It is an active time for MMA's elite fighters, as well. Seven of these 10 pound-for-pound entrants have potential bouts on the slate in the next 10 weeks, making for a fantastic early summer for the sport.

UFC middleweight champion
Record: 24-4

Silva's April title defense against Thales Leites was exactly the sort of performance that can undermine any man's claim to being a pound-for-pound king. Sensing The Spider needed a stiffer challenge, Zuffa lined up a bout against former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 on Aug. 8. Silva began his career by besting then-top welterweights like Hayato "Mach" Sakurai and Tetsuji Kato and then moved on to dominate the middleweight division. A win over Griffin would make Silva MMA's first man with top five-caliber victories across three weight classes.

UFC welterweight champion
Record: 18-2

Over the past four years, no fighter has more victories against accomplished, outstanding opponents than St. Pierre. However, despite avenging his April 2007 loss to Matt Serra 12 months later, the specter of his smashing at the hands of The Terror still looms. With another great challenger in Thiago Alves on deck for his third title defense at UFC 100 on July 11, St. Pierre can continue to pave over the Serra debacle with exceptional victories.

Affliction heavyweight champion
Record: 30-1, 1 NC

No one has ever reigned in MMA like Emelianenko. The only knocks on the sport's heavyweight king have been the fact he's plagued by a thinner division than some of the sport's other stalwarts and has not fought his best contemporaries recently. Fortunately, this has changed over the past year with his demolitions of Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski. If an August bout with Josh Barnett comes to fruition, it will mark Emelianenko's third consecutive match against a top 10 former UFC heavyweight champion; it's the kind of schedule that befits the sport's epic heavyweight.

Read the rest of the Top Ten at ESPN Mix Martial Arts

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