Jose Aldo proved his greatness during his five-round dismantling of Urijah Faber. At the tender age of 23, the WEC Featherweight Champion cut the cage in half and dissected Faber’s vertical base with angry body blows and paralyzing kicks to the knees and thighs. Aldo nearly ended the fight with a beautiful crucifix in the fourth and could have added an exclamation point in the fifth, but he displayed the maturity of a champion and cruised to victory knowing the fight was already won.
Faber lost, but he remains absolutely relevant in MMA. He held the WEC Featherweight crown for more than two years and made five straight title defenses. Aldo would have vaporized a lesser fighter, but despite having to be carried to his corner at the end of Round 3 Faber continued to try everything he could think off to steal a victory. But Aldo is untouchable right now and on track to be discussed alongside MMA’s most dominant champions, men like Matt Hughes, Chuck Liddell, Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre.
The record holder for most UFC wins (17) and title defenses (seven as a welterweight), in addition to a couple of title reigns and two separate six-fight win streaks that includes memorable victories over Carlos Newton and Georges St-Pierre, Hughes has taken up permanent residence in the annals of MMA.
Trails only Hughes in most UFC wins (16) and owns the record for most knockout and TKO victories (10). The Iceman blasted his way through his light-heavyweight title reign with brutal beatings of Randy Couture (twice), Tito Ortiz, Renato Sobral and Jeremy Horn before taking Quinton Jackson’s vicious right hook that put him to sleep and ended his run at UFC 71.
Emelianenko owned the PRIDE Fighting Championships heavyweight division and he’s beaten some of the best available heavyweights since the promotion folded. Emelianenko hasn’t lost since 2000 – and that was due to an illegal but accidental elbow. Emelianenko is slated to face Fabricio Werdum in June at an M-1 Global/Strikeforce event – if he finishes the Pride/UFC vet, he will likely get shot at the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, which will be either Alistair Overeem or Brett Rogers depending on the outcome of their May 15 bout.
The MMA community is down on the Spider because of his string of strange performances but the current UFC middleweight champion’s 11 straight wins is the longest streak in Zuffa history. Since winning the belt in 2006 he’s made six title defenses and won two fights at light heavyweight. Despite Dana White’s threats to release him if he pulls another stunt similar to UFC 112, Silva will headline UFC 117 against Chael Sonnen.
All GSP has done is clean out the welterweight division to the extent where White is openly pursuing Strikeforce Middleweight Champion and free-agent-to-be Jake Shields as a potential next challenger. In 2009 the two-time UFC welterweight king was named Most Outstanding Fighter by the Wrestling Observer and also honored as the year’s finest at the World MMA Awards. St-Pierre is undefeated in three years since being shocked by Matt Serra, putting away Matt Hughes, Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves and Dan Hardy with yawn-inducing ease.