Brent Brookhouse: There has been a long-standing debate regarding Jose Aldo and if he can be considered in the pound-for-pound debate or if the featherweight division simply isn't good enough for him to have a credible argument. With eleven straight wins on Zuffa cards and this latest dominant win over Chad Mendes, has he done enough to make a legitimate case for a top five pound for pound fighter?
Tim Burke: He has absolutely made the case, and should comfortably sit in the top five. Featherweight might be thin, but he has been a lot of quality contenders, and a wide variety of opponents (wrestlers, strikers, etc). Two of the long-standing guys in the top three, Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva, faced stretches where they didn't have the toughest competition across the cage from them. I don't think Aldo should be left out of the discussion just because his division is a little behind in development. I mean, what else does the guy have to do? Move up to 155?
Fraser Coffeen: I was one of the people who felt he was anointed top 5 too fast. But the Mendes fight finally closed it for me. Yes, he's top 5. The division is still a bit thin, but as Tim said, Anderson was fighting Cote and Leites and was widely considered #1. It's not always just who you face, it's also how impressive you look against them, and Aldo looked impressive in Rio. I guess for me what it comes down to is this - for him to not be top 5, you need to find 5 guys above him. Clearly Silva, Jones, and GSP are above. But then? Edgar is the only other really in contention I think.
Brent Brookhouse: I think Jon Fitch losing kind of takes some of the teeth out of the argument against Aldo. He was one of the fighters people thought belonged above Aldo for all his accomplishments as the long-time number two guy at welterweight who seemed like he could only be beaten by one guy (St. Pierre).
In a few months Aldo will be #3 in my eyes since standard ranking procedure says you remove a fighter who has been inactive for over a year (again, St. Pierre).
As Fraser said, you have to have five guys above him to not be top five and I think the guys in the P4P discussion right now are (in no order):
- Jon Jones
- Georges St. Pierre
- Frankie Edgar
- Gilbert Melendez
- Junior dos Santos
- Dominick Cruz
More after the jump...
KJ Gould: The lack of familiarity and establishment of the Featherweight division hurts his cause. His best name win is Kenny Florian, but it can be argued Florian was severely weakened with his drop to Featherweight which impacted the fight.
In hypothetical pound for pound discussions, Anderson Silva, Frankie Edgar, Jon Jones and Georges St. Pierre rank above him in my opinion. I guess you could squeak him in at No#5 - really, who else is there except maybe Junior dos Santos? - but I would like to see him face a few other top 10 lightweights first, either by them dropping down or him going up.
Not the easiest of questions as the pound for pound debate gets pretty murky after the first 5 with a lot of people having wildly varying opinions of who should be considered.
T.P. Grant: Edgar is not in my P4P Top 5 right now, I think a lot hangs on his Ben Henderson fight. Edgar's run in championship fight has consisted of him spending two years having four fights with the same two guys, and he very easily could have ended up going 2-2 instead of 3-0-1. He impressed the hell out of me with his toughness and mental strength, and I love watching him fight. That said I want to see how Edgar fairs when he faces more lightweights. He gets hit a lot for how small and quick he is and there are guys at 155 lbs that can put hands on Edgar and if they hurt him have real finishing ability to end the fight.
So with that off topic rant out of the way, I feel Aldo is a very solid #4, with Andy Silva #1, Bones #2, GSP #3 and I feel Dominick Cruz has earn #5. Aldo is fighting in a division that is flux right now and the talent isn't very deep because many elite featherweights are still fighting at lightweight, but Aldo's resume is just too good to ignore. Aldo has not lost a fight in 6 years, he beat Mike Thomas Brown and Urijah Faber effortlessly when both where considered P4P fighters, and has defended his belt 5 times (GSP has defended 6 times).
I think Aldo's recognition is over due, his run in featherweight is as impressive as any champion's run in their division, aside from Anderson Silva.
Tim Burke: I'd probably rank Frankie highly just because he's a natural featherweight that is consistently beating guys much larger than him. If it comes down to who is # 4 (behind the aforementioned Silva/GSP/Bones trio), it's a very tough call between Aldo and Edgar for me. But there's no one else that's close to stealing a top five spot away from either of them in my eyes. Dominick Cruz isn't close. Dan Henderson isn't close. Nick Diaz isn't close.
T.P Grant: Why isn't Cruz close?
Tim Burke: Three of his last six fights (including two title defenses) have been against bantamweights. Bowles shattered his hand and had to stop. The Faber fight was waaay closer than the scores made it. And if we're questioning whether the strength of a division should affect a fighter's P4P ranking...well, BW is behind FW in development.
KJ Gould: Because like Featherweight, Bantamweight isn't developed or established yet compared to other classes.
Edgar beat Penn twice at a time when many though Penn was unstoppable at Lightweight. His fights with Maynard were epic, and Maynard has a significant size advantage and beats everyone else at Lightweight. Considering he is an undersized light weight as has been mentioned, and how Aldo has been mulling going to Lightweight because the cut to Featherweight is tough, I think Edgar has to be considered above Aldo in pound for pound discussion. Edgar could be number 2 or 3 for me.
T.P. Grant: My reservations about Edgar are just that outside of his rematch against BJ Penn we've not seen in go in and take firm control of fight from another elite fighter. The first fight with Penn was in and out but Penn was never in trouble and landed harder more accurate strikes. In both fights with Maynard, Edgar was in big, big trouble in the opening rounds. I need to see him go in and really dominate an elite fighter.
I think you might be underplaying how good Edgar is, considering his only loss was to Maynard and he more than made up for it in the rematches ending the last fight definitively.
Fraser Coffeen: Interesting that JDS has come up a few times. I figured he would, simply because he's a champion, but no way is he in contention in my book, as every one of his impressive wins comes against an opponent with a pretty sizable hole in his game. It's going to take a lot for a heavyweight to crack that top 5 for me, just based on the shallowness and constant flux at the top of the division.
Fraser Coffeen: Cruz isn't close because every time he gets inside and gets close, he runs away right after.
Thanks folks, I'll be here all night.
Tim Burke: Everyone meet Fraser Coffeen, the Jacob Volkmann of BE!
Fraser Coffeen: Tim, call me to schedule a glassectomy.
Matt Roth: You guys aren't thinking this through and that's cute. I can't put Aldo in the top 5 just because I don't think he was impressive in his wins over Hominick or Florian. In fact the Florian fight wasn't memorable to me, to the point that even though I sat cage side I kinda spaced out and lost track of how many rounds were already over. Yes, beating Mendes is huge but you guys are definitely being ridiculous saying he's top 5.
Tim Burke: And Anderson's win over Sonnen was impressive? Hell a lot of people have been crapping on GSP's last few performances. Aldo still beat Hominick and Florian 49-46. And had a 10-8 round against Hominick.
Matt Roth: Man I'm all but ready to drop GSP from the top 5. Pound for Pound to me means not just one of the best but also one of the most exciting. The Goddamn Sleeping Pill is the worst. If Jose is top 5 he's fringe top 5. Though I think both Edgar and Henderson are above him.
Dallas Winston: I've been pretty skeptical about Aldo's hype as well but I would now put him at #4 in front of Edgar. He only has one career loss and has now blown through much of the upper end of the division in addition to the lower end.
Frankie has a legit UFC loss to Gray plus the draw and all Aldo has are decision wins that weren't entirely dominant. Top-five? No question in my book.