Looking at a fighter's record:

This is something I've been thinking about recently, all opinions welcome:

Let's say we have two fighters. MMA guys, boxers, doesn't matter.

Fighter A is 20-2. His two losses were against decent, but B level opponents. He was subbed or knocked out quickly in both of them. 2 of his wins were huge, top A level opponents

Fighter B is also 20-2. His two losses were against the two top guys he faced. They were hard fought battles, but he ultimately came up shorts. He dominated most of the guys he beat and has some wins over legit guys, but no huge names.

Now fighter A will almost unaminously be considered better than fighter B. Even though he lost to lower ranked guys, his big name wins seem to override that. The fight that the losses happened before the big wins can also be used to show that the fighter improved since then and it can be argued he would win rematches.

Fighter B on the other hand will likely be deemed to have an inferior record. Even though he beat all but the 2 best guys he faced, he doesn't have a huge win to define his career or boost him to the top spot. It seems like it would be better for him to have lost to a lesser guy but beaten a top guy.

I would consider Lennox Lewis and Randy Couture(minus the Barnett and Rodriguez incidents) fighter A. Their consistency and huge wins oveeride their huge upset losses.

I would say that Heath Herring and Andrei Arlovski are decent examples of fighter B. They only lose to the top guys, but beat up almost everyone else they face.

I felt my choices for example of Fighter B were somewhat weak, but I hope I got the point across. My question is, "Why is is better to lose to lower guys but beat the best than to beat all but the best guys?


Arlovski is a much better fighter than Herring IMO.

you make some good points and could also possibly add what it is that makes fighter b lose to fighter a. It could be confidence or maybe even as simple as not training with the right people. For example a lot of people feel that if Vernon White trained with "better training partners" that he would have beaten some of the people that he lost close decisions to.

Hard to say without really examining all the matches.

If you want to view examples of how different fighter's records "stack up", visit www.mmaranks.com/stats

A lot of what you described is evaluated like that, (the value of losing to top guys vs. beating everyone else vs. losing to lower guys vs. having some big wins)

thanks rude22

The reason I would consider A the better fighter is entirely psychological. Perhaps B has a mental block and simply can't win the big fight (think Pedro Rizzo). A has shown that he can rise to the occasion and win when it counts. In this sport anything can happen and everybody loses every now and then. The test of a fighter is whether he can perform when all the chips are on the line.

AMEN Davegarcia

Garcia makes a great point. Anyone can lose in the MMA game. Anyone can get caught with the slightest mistake.

Being able to consistently perform well, and put up a couple of wins against the elite would seem better.

Losing a match to a "lower level" can happen so easily, that you can't dismiss someone's major accomplishments because of it.

Excellent point about the mental angle, Garcia. I guess the difference between MMA and boxing is the amount of different ways to win. Theres no MMA fighter who is impossible to both sub and KO.

Having fought i can tell you there are so many things that contribute to a win or a loss, now maybe on a higher level there are fewer things as a fighter gains more consistency, but its like anything else, any given fight night, almost anyone can win.