http://proxy.espn.go.com/extra/mma/columns/story?id=2983151&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab6pos1 1. Fedor Emelianenko (26-1-0, 1 NC) The creation of a pound-for-pound list can be directly traced back to the desire of determining the best fighter regardless of weight. So it is Mastro's Steakhouse-rare when a list is topped by a heavyweight. But such is the greatness of Russian Fedor Emelianenko. A complete fighter, Fedor is known for his brilliance in the ring, where he often appears so relaxed it's like he just woke from a Sunday afternoon nap. Fedor, currently weighing contract offers, mixes a vicious ground-striking game with an active submission regimen along with the kind of high-elevation takedowns that only the most dynamic fighters possess. Having stood and gone to the floor with the best in both areas, most pundits regard Emelianenko, the current PRIDE heavyweight champion, to be the finest fighter on the planet. 2. Mauricio Rua (16-2-0) A staple of any pound-for-pound list, and rightfully so, Shogun's ledger is a hit list of some of 2005's finest. His epic run through 2005's PRIDE 205-pound Grand Prix saw him ice now-UFC kingpin Quinton Jackson, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem, and Ricardo Arona, in what may be the best 12-month run any MMA fighter has ever put together. Recent wins over respectable opponents such as Kazuhiro Nakamura, and another W over Overeem, only serve to solidify the 25-year-old's sterling hit list, which may be due for some fresh additions as he heads to the octagon. 3. Gilbert Melendez (12-0-0) You won't find "El Niño" on many people's pound-for-pound lists, let alone third. The reason is simple: Why not? Melendez is perhaps the only fighter you could name, other than B.J. Penn, who after achieving top three status in one division, jumped up a weight class to achieve the same stature in another. Melendez's wins over the likes of Hiroyuki Takaya and Rumina Sato saw him emerge as a preeminent featherweight, but he was forced to move up in weight when then-Shooto world champion Alexandre Franca Nogueira did everything in his power to avoid fighting him. At 155, Melendez cemented himself as one of the division's best, emerging victorious in his slugfest with Tatsuya Kawajiri on New Year's Eve. While Melendez may not be the third best fighter in the world, his résumé boasts two divisions of top-three credibility, which cannot be balked at. 4. Dan Henderson (22-5-0) The proverbial snapshot adjacent to the definition would feature Henderson wearing 4-ounce gloves. Fighting from heavyweight to 185 pounds, Henderson is the only man to hold major titles in separate weight divisions at the same time, owning both the PRIDE 205- and 185-pound straps -- and the No. 3 spot at both light heavyweight and middleweight in the Sherdog.com divisional rankings. Few if any fighters have as impressive a list of opponents, many of which are heavier than the former U.S. Olympic wrestler. A February knockout over Wanderlei Silva helped to diminish the negative impact of Henderson's uninspired 2006 decision loss to Kazuo Misaki at 183 pounds in Japan last year. But no matter, Hendo is a great mixed martial artist and has never failed to fight -- and in many cases defeat -- the best when given the chance. 5. Anderson Silva (19-4-0) Had Silva not illegally up-kicked Japan's Yushin Okami, Silva might very well be 22-3. However the Brazilian Muay Thai sniper had to settle for taking the loss and the eventual UFC middleweight title around his waist. Silva captured the title by demolishing Rich Franklin last October. Recently, Silva side-swiped Nathan Marquardt to hold on to the 185-pound belt. Silva's lanky frame and dangerous striking skills make him a tough night for anyone. Add to that an increased awareness in the cage, as well as improving takedown defense, and it's quite possible Silva won't lose in the UFC middleweight division for several years, especially if he can get post Franklin again, this time in the former champ's hometown of Cincinnati. 6. Quinton Jackson (27-6-0) On the strength of his early knockout against Chuck Liddell in May, "Rampage" Jackson comes in on the cusp of a Top 5 ranking. It's taken time for Jackson to appear recovered -- both physically and mentally -- from the beatings he endured against Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio Rua, but on the eve of his Sept. 8 title defense against PRIDE king Dan Henderson, the UFC champion looks as strong as ever. It's really his strength that separates "Rampage" from many fighters at his weight; the gifted Memphis native has picked up and slammed a great many opponents, and has harnessed his punching power while learning how to strike in the gym. 7. Takanori Gomi (27-3-0) The talk of where post-PRIDE Gomi will end up continues to be a major MMA topic, and with good reason: the 28-year-old PRIDE champion is still arguably the best lightweight in the world after seven years in the rarified air of the division. While his spot on the list might have been saved by the bogus technicalities that beautified his record after his wild and woolly loss to Nick Diaz, rules are rules -- however silly -- and we must play by them. Besides, in the last two years alone, "The Fireball Kid" has taken home wins over the likes of Tatsuya Kawajiri, Hayato Sakurai, Marcus Aurelio and Mitsuhiro Ishida, which is pretty tough to argue with. 8. Shinya Aoki (11-2-0) Multidivisional success is a huge achievement in MMA, where weight classes aren't a cute four pounds apart. Yet, the 24-year-old Shooto world champion has managed stalwart wins in two weight classes, having knocked off perennial Top 10ers Joachim Hansen and Akira Kikuchi at lightweight and welterweight. While the "Tobikan Judan" doesn't quite fulfill the criteria of dominance expected of pound-for-pound list, he is still one of the few fighters in MMA who deserves to be ranked in two weight classes, which earns him his spot here. 9. Sean Sherk (32-2-1) However tarnished the UFC titlist may emerge from his ongoing steroid saga doesn't change the fact that, at least for now, he is a winner. A longtime standout welterweight, Sherk punctuated his career at 170 pounds with a win over Nick Diaz before moving down in weight and knocking off Kenny Florian and Hermes Franca. Though solid enough to entrench him as a top lightweight, his wins at 155 are not overly outstanding in a pound-for-pound fashion, which is why "The Muscle Shark" takes a dip on this list below other double-division standouts. 10. Norifumi Yamamoto (15-1-0, 1 NC) As these types of lists go there is always a necessary subjectivity that's used to bind the thing together. You can argue that "Kid" Yamamoto doesn't have the wins to make the list -- though he has fought 10 pounds above his natural weight division of 145 for several years. But you can't argue against the explosive fighter's dynamic skills and fighting style, both of which have some suggesting "Kid" needs to have the zero removed from this ranking. Yamamoto is the face of K-1 HERO'S and if he fought regularly against 145-pound competitors, it wouldn't take long before he was regarded the best in the world at that weight.