If you can get someone to indulge with you in a debate over the pound-for-pound best mixed martial artists, the top four names most people will list are, in some variation, Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre, Jon Jones and Jose Aldo.
Why each man continually appears at or near the top of so many such lists is no great secret: they are all very, very good fighters.
UFC Hall of Famer and solid MMA analyst Randy “The Natural” Couture also sees these four men as representative of the best that MMA can offer. As he explained during a recent appearance on UFC Ultimate Insider:
Jose Aldo: Jose Aldo brings this kind of animalistic intensity to the way he fights in the cage. It’s a very, very rare thing and it leaves you scratching your head. It’s like, ‘Man, this guy is ridiculous.’
Georges St-Pierre: Georges St-Pierre is a strategic and tactical monster. He knows exactly where he wants to be. He breaks his opponents down, knows exactly what he needs to do to win those fights. I think the thing that astonished me most about him was, for a guy that’s never wrestled a day in his life, how good his transition skills are and how good he wrestles. He looks like he was a collegiate All-American and he takes guys down that were collegiate All-Americans, like Koscheck, with ease. Tactically and technically, I’ve not seen a better guy than Georges.
Anderson Silva: If you’re around Anderson, first of all, he’s a very affable guy. That’s an interesting contrast and dynamic with a guy that gets in the cage and fights the way that he fights. About 185lbs, his size is interesting. I mean, he’s taller than I am and I’ve been a heavyweight and light heavyweight most of my career. So, at 185lbs you wonder, ‘How the heck does this guy make weight?’ He just has long, range-y, laser-sighted striking with amazing ground skills. They just don’t get any better.
Jon Jones: I watched Jon Jones in his first fight and he was flailing around I wasn’t terribly impressed with him at all. He looked like he was struggling and didn’t know what exactly what he wanted to do out there. They matched him up in his very next fight with Stephan Bonnar and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, Stephan’s gonna kill this kid.’ And he did things in that fight that I was like, ‘How the heck did he do that?’ I went back to the gym myself and was like, ‘I need to slow that down and figure out how he did that.’ He just has that kind of potential and ability and we’ve seen that now come full circle. The sky’s the limit for him and it’s gonna be very interesting.