Posted 10/2/08 10:22:00AM
Some buddies of mine and I were discussing strikers in MMA and who we thought was the best striker bar none (you'd be surprised how many people apparently suddenly think Weidman is god's gift to striking now), and I decided it would make for a good topic to get some discussion going on the playground.
With so many great strikers in MMA it's really hard to narrow things down to the 5 I consider the best. I'm also trying to remain objective when coming up with my own personal criteria by which the strikers are measured. I don't want my own personal biases toward fighters getting them ranked higher on the list than they should be, or my loathing of some fighters from keeping them off the list.
My criteria that I'm trying to stick too is striking technique, striking defense (this really is a lesser criteria, but I find myself considering it when thinking about whether guys who block punches with their face belong on the list or not), and versatility in their striking game. It is that very reason that Pat Curran, who I hold in pretty high regard as a technical striker, is not making the list. His primarily boxing centered attack makes him a little too one dimensional in his attack. That said his head kick on Sandro is still one of my favorite KOs in recent history.
Really, to me, the number 1 spot can only go to 1 of 2 people, and it's really hard to pick between the 2 as I believe their skill levels are pretty much exactly the same.
1) Anderson Silva takes the top spot just barely edging out (partially due to the elbow on tony fryklund adding extra points in the category of versatility), over the guy who takes my number 2 spot.
2) Jose Aldo - the guy is a beast. Unless he is gassed you never seem to see him anywhere close to being at a disadvantage in the striking game. Devastating punches, knees, and kicks. In my mind, what he brings to the table in terms of attributes and skill set would be pure perfection if it weren't for cardio being a question mark for him.
3) Anthony Pettis - Good god, the kicks this man seemingly comes up with on the spot is nothing short of spectacular. When it comes to versatility as a striker, I'd say you'd be hard pressed to find a guy with more weapons in the striking game than Pettis. His versatility is what game him the slight edge over the guy I have at number 4.
4) Lyoto Machida When it comes to technical striking, especially when counter striking, Machida is pretty much the be all end all at LHW. I can't think really think of anybody in the division who is better technically than him. This is one of those situations where his striking defense helped him take the # 4 spot instead of losing out to the guy below.
5) Alistair Overeem whether he had an easy path to winning it all or not, he still was a K-1 Grand Prix champion. You can't help but have respect for his skill as a striker. I still believe that when it comes to pure striking he is probably the best in he HW division. Now, whether or not his chin can stand up to the punishment of the divisions other strikers is something else entirely, but skill wise he stands above the others within the division.
Honorable Mentions: Edson Barboza, Dominick Cruz (probably could have been #5, but I forgot and I'm too lazy to change it now), Renan Barao, Martin Kampmann, Anthony Njokuani, and many others that I'm too lazy to list.
So what does your top 5 look like? I'm also curious to know what criteria you use when creating your top 5.
Posted 1/6/10 12:05:00PM
I agree with your top 4, not sure who should be 5th but I'm n ot convinced it would be Overeem. GSP is a considerably gifted striker as well, it's just not showcased often as he utilizes timing and wrestling these days. We also had this discussion but we never came up with a 5th, we usually just say Andy, Pettis, Machida, and Aldo and then move on to something else.
Posted 7/5/07 6:21:00PM
1 Anderson Silva: The man is a beast in every area of striking and his ability to pull off bone crushing blows is unfuckwithable.
2 Jose Aldo: His speed and accuracy are top notch not to mention he has the BEST leg kicks in the business
3 Alistair Overeem: He is by far the best kickboxer in MMA right now and is the most accomplished striker when it comes to credentials.
4 Anthony Pettis: His creativity is the main reason I have him in the top 5. He pulls off moves no one else would even think to try.
5 Junior Dos Santos: In my opinion JDS has the best boxing skills in MMA right now. The power and speed he possess in his hands is incredible. Its rare you see someone step in the cage with JDS and the end result isnt the ref waking them up.
Posted 9/22/07 11:16:00AM
I agree with Andy, Aldo, Machida and Pettis, but not Overeem. I know he's an elite level kickboxer and all of that, but after what he let Bigfoot do to him he needs to show me that he's still got it before I believe in his striking again.
JDS and GSP are both strong possibilities for that fifth spot IMO.
How about Tyrone Spong? He's nasty.
Posted 7/5/07 6:21:00PM
Overeem destroyed Spong so I cant rank him higher then the Reem.
Your theory on Big Foot and Overeem is craziness in my opinion losing one time doesnt take away from what you have already done every great fighter gets caught. Need an example see Weidman vs Silva and losing to Weidman doesnt make Anderson any less of a striker.
Posted 1/24/07 8:41:00PM
I can't call Overeem a great striker for the same reason you can't call Semmy Schilt a great striker. Take away their physical attributes and they're nothing. Guys like Aldo, Barboza, A. Silva are great because they're masters of their craft, not because they're walking steroid muscles or seven feet tall.
For pure technical mastery I'd say Barboza is likely the best in the sport today. He's simply too clean and powerful, and is rarely hit. He's cracked top level striking defenses like Njokuani's and iced most of his adversaries with ease. Varner nailed him, but he's himself a highly underrated boxer and I doubt that would ever happen again.
Showtime is another marvel and I'd say he's better at Machida at essentially the same style. They're both low out-put, high impact strikers with insane accuracy and speed. Pettis has some of the best balance in combat sports and in a couple years will be GOAT as far as I'm concerned.
I'd put Barao on the list ahead of Aldo, as they're essentially the exact same fighter, but Barao is a bit more crisp and still has that killer instinct. Aldo seems to have lost that hunger in the last couple of years.
Anderson Silva is a no brainer. One of the best reflexive fighters of all time, true one-shot power and impeccable timing. He's the best, or at worst, second best striker I've ever seen.
Posted 9/22/07 11:16:00AM
Yes, but Overeem didn't "get caught". Overeem did almost no damage to Bigfoot, but did enough to gas himself out entirely to the point where he couldn't get out of the way when Bigfoot started bombing him.
I forgot about the Reem/Spong fight, but Reem was significantly bigger than Spong.
I'm not saying Reem isn't a great striker. I just wouldn't consider him top five in MMA. Bigfoot wasn't the only one to "catch" him either, and ever since he improved his striking he's been fighting almost nothing but bums in MMA. He hasn't proven his striking to be elite in MMA yet. I know K-1 level striking > MMA level striking, but Reem hasn't really shown much for impressive striking in MMA. Beating guys like Gary Goodridge and James Thompson means nothing to me.
Posted 7/5/07 11:42:00PM