Having finally completed my South African MMA Rankings for each division, it seemed only fitting to look at the country as a whole. Pound for pound rankings are common enough in fighting sports, and come with their fair amount of speculation and criticism. Here is my list of the 10 best pound for pound (P4P) MMA fighters in South Africa:
1. Jeremy “Pitbull” Smith (11-1)
Jeremy Smith has achieved more in his young MMA career than most South African MMA fighters. Currently on an 11 fight winning streak, the Pitbull has defeated local and international talent alike. On 2 March 2012, Jeremy Smith removed any doubt of him being the best fighter in the country by defeating a very game Garreth McLellan to earn the EFC Africa Middleweight title.
2. Costa Ioannou (4-0)
Costa Ioannou has been a dominant force in the EFC lightweight division since his debut in 2010, manhandling his opponents en route the EFC Africa lightweight title. Ioannou was also the first fighter to successfully defend his EFC title in 2011, and still undefeated, shows no signs of slowing down in the near future.
3. Ruan “Fangzz” Potts (14-0)
Ruan Potts has had a dream run in the EFC, finishing every fighter the promotion has put in his path. In 2011 Potts earned himself the coveted EFC Africa heavyweight title, and later that year became the second man to successfully defend his title, mere minutes after Ioannou. Ruan Potts has won an extraordinary 14 fights in a row and has yet to be defeated in professional MMA.
4. Garreth “Soldierboy” McLellan (6-2)
Garreth McLellan has evolved as a fighter over the past few years and now shows a completely well rounded game. McLellan, now 5-1 in the EFC, showed just why he is on this list in his titanic clash with Jeremy Smith at EFC 12, a fight in which he had the champion and P4P #1 in trouble on several occasions.
5. Chris Bright (26-3)
Chris Bright is somewhat of an MMA legend in South Africa and has a truly notable record. The Port Elizabeth local also boasts international experience and has never lost in his natural weight division. Bright however has not fought since May 2010, which begs the question of how he will perform against the rapidly improving athletes of today. Hopefully this question will be answered soon enough.
6. Brendon Katz (7-1)
Brendon Katz’ sole professional loss was at the hands of Costa Ioannou in a fight of the night clash. Shy of that, Katz has racked up 7 wins, won an XFC title and has now made the jump to fighting internationally with great success.
7. Rico “White Lion” Hattingh (14-2)
Rico Hattingh mustered an impressive record early in his MMA career with 13 straight wins. Hattingh’s losses have both come from international opponents, and after his EFC debut in 2010, his local record stood at 14-0. Hattingh has had a string of injury problems which has forced him out of the Hexagon for almost 2 years. Hopefully Hattingh will be back in action soon, in all likelihood against Ruan Potts in a epic South African heavyweight clash.
8. Darren “Double D” Daniel (5-1)
Darren Daniel has defeated some of South Africa’s top MMA fighters in brutal fashion, including current EFC welterweight champion Dallas Jakobi. Daniel is also undefeated on South African soil, his lone loss coming from an international bout in China. Darren Daniel has been out of action for a while, but is set for a return in 2012.
9. Demarte “The Wolf” Pena (3-0)
Reigning EFC Africa featherweight champion Demarte Pena is undefeated in the Hexagon and has defeated some of the top featherweights in the country. The wolf will face his greatest test when he meets dangerous contender Wesley Hawkey in his first title defence.
10. Dallas Jakobi (12-5)
Dallas Jakobi earned his spot on this list by capping off a solid 3 fight winning streak with an impressive win against Adam Speechly at EFC 10. The victory saw Jakobi taking the EFC welterweight title in his first welterweight fight. A newcomer to the division, Jakobi still has a lot to prove in a stacked division. First up is Jadyson Costa at EFC 13.
Wesley Hawkey, Wentzel Nel, Adam Speechly, Martin van Staden, Tyron Rightford, Norman Wessels
For all rankings visit my MMA Rankings page