By Matt Larkin
A few weeks ago, I made my picks for the top three wrestlers in MMA today. Now, let’s turn our attention to the masters of the Sweet Science. Which three mixed martial artists would have the best chance of contending as pro boxers? Here are my picks, keeping in mind that I’m not referring to strikers overall – just pure boxers.
Another aside: Anderson Silva will appear on the Muay Thai list instead. And George St-Pierre, as good as he is, just misses the cut as he hasn’t shown knockout power with his boxing yet.
1. Vitor Belfort
To me, the Phenom is the guy most MMA insiders mention as “someone who could immediately contend if he switched to pro boxing.” Belfort’s hands are both lightning-fast and powerful and he strings together vicious combinations. In a pure fist fight, there’s no one better.
2. Junior Dos Santos
Dos Santos has emerged as a close second to Belfort. The UFC heavyweight champ is similar in that he relies almost exclusively on his boxing to beat opponents. Trained by Brazil’s Olympic coach, JDS has great speed for a heavyweight and devastating uppercut.
3. Mark Hominick
That Mark Hominick even survived five rounds to Jose Aldo is a testament to his outstanding boxing ability. Place the Canadian featherweight in the cage with any other opponent and he outclasses him in the striking game. Hominick has crisp technique, outstanding accuracy and knocks guys out more often than people think.
What? No Nick Diaz? He picks opponents apart with his precise, long reach but loses points for his nonchalant defensive approach and pitter-patter power.