There’s generally two things I try to steer clear from on this site. One, criticizing other sites, and two, getting into pound-for-pound rankings.
Like many of you, I read articles, stories, opinions, etc. that I don’t agree with on other MMA sites. I do my best to keep my thoughts to myself though, because I’m sure there’s plenty of things I say that others don’t agree with. I suppose it’s the whole golden rule thing. If someone says something really asinine, you can usually count on Fightlinker to call them out on it. That’s usually all the satisfaction I need.
Then there’s the pound-for-pound rankings. It’s the endless debate that no one ever wins. They’re so subjective, and no one is ever right or wrong within reason. At the end of the day, what do they really mean anyways? 99% of the time they aren’t being used to determine match-ups. No one gets a belt. The only practicality they have is for marketing purposes. It’s nice to know who the best fighter in the world is, but don’t we already have our own opinions on that anyways?
All that said, man, for some reason, I just can’t ignore this one. I was going through my feed reader last night and this headline from Yahoo! caught my eye, “Lesnar Closes In On Top 10.” I immediately thought ok, you can make a good argument for Lesnar being a top 10 heavyweight or close to it at this point. He did just beat Randy Couture after all. So I clicked on it, and much to my utter surprise, they weren’t talking about heavyweight rankings, they were talking about pound-for-pound rankings! Here’s the excerpt.
Brock Lesnar is just four fights into his mixed martial arts career. But the new UFC heavyweight champion is already edging his way toward the Yahoo! Sports pound-for-pound Top 10.
After stopping Randy Couture to claim the gold in the main event of UFC 91 on Nov. 15, Lesnar received a smattering of eighth, ninth and 10th place votes, good for nine points. That put him at 12th place overall in the monthly rankings.
Wait a second, what?! People actually voted for Brock Lesnar in the top ten???
I’m sorry, but I really don’t get it. Isn’t the point of pound-for-pound rankings to determine who the best fighters are irrespective of weight? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to bash Lesnar here, but isn’t the primary reason why he’s winning fights at the top of his weight class because of his size coupled with his speed and athleticism? In this day and age, the sport has evolved to the point where the best fighters in the world are all well-rounded. Guys like Matt Hughes who are dominant in one aspect of the game don’t necessarily dominate inside the cage anymore. If you take Brock’s size away, what do you have left? Basically, a one-dimensional fighter. Sure, you can say, well, he dropped both Heath Herring and Randy Couture with a right hand, but isn’t that more a testament to his reach and power than it is to his technical boxing skills? Brock’s striking is better than I anticipated, but he’s no where near the level of anyone you’ll see in any reasonable pound-for-pound list. And his jiu-jitsu, well, do I really need to say anything about that?
Fact of the matter is, if he was the same size as any of the world’s best fighters, does anyone really think he would stand a chance? He may be a great wrestler, but that alone just isn’t good enough anymore to be one of the world’s best pound-for-pound. His biggest strength is his strength, size, and speed. Take the size, and inherently the dominant strength away, and you’re essentially left with an extremely quick and athletic wrestler with intermediate striking and novice-level jiu-jitsu.
The best I can think to compare Brock to would be Sean Sherk. Brock’s essentially a giant Sherk with less developed striking and jiu-jitsu. Don’t get me wrong, Sherk’s a great fighter, but you’re probably not going to find him on anyone’s pound-for-pound list.
I understand the Brock Lesnar hype train is pushing full-steam ahead, but how far are we willing to let it go down the tracks?