Thu Dec 23 10:00am EST
The days of dominant, nearly unbeatable champs may be gone. Or are they? Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva continued their rolls but Brock Lesnar, Urijah Faber, Lyoto Machida and B.J. Penn all tumbled down the ladder. The most shocking fall from dominance came when Fedor Emelianenko lost for the first time in 10 years against Fabricio Werdum.
The changing landscape in many weight classes allowed some new names to emerge for Fighter of the Year honors. Who was the best of the best in 2010? You tell us. Winners will be announced on Dec. 30.
Cain Velasquez (Heavyweight) -- From his early days in the UFC, Velasquez, 28, was touted as the future of the division. Some doubt arose when several 265-pound behemoths began to smash through the division while Velasquez had some trouble finishing his opponents. Velasquez re-established himself as a huge prospect when he buried Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in February. Before UFC 121, he was dwarfed by Lesnar's persona outside the Octagon and even more so during the staredown at the weigh-ins. After three minutes of knocking heads, Lesnar was literally running for cover. Velasquez's mix of stamina, boxing, takedown defense and wrestling strength will make him tough to knock off. The kid is also a perfectionist.
Jose Aldo (Featherweight) -- The Brazilian is the youngest guy on this list, but he may have the most potential to tear through 2011 in more dominant fashion than he did so this year. Aldo's striking, especially his kicks are scary. He left Faber's legs looking looking diseased after giving him the boot for 25 minutes. Aldo followed that up by toying with Manny Gamburyan. He may be the kind of champ who can dominate multiple weight classes.
Alistair Overeem (Heavyweight) -- He may not be the best fighter outside the Zuffa family, but he's the guy who's generating the most excitement. The Dutch striker is massive, which constantly raises questions about how he's put on so much mass. There's no questions about what he's done in the cage and ring. Brett Rogers was a handful for Fedor. For Overeem, he was a horse-meat sandwich. That was Overeem's only MMA win in 2010, but he added to his resume by entering the strange world of K-1 and emerging as the winner of the heavyweight grand prix. He beat out a field with tons of veteran experience and opened up potentially massive revenue streams in Japan. His legend also made for the best MMA song of 2010.
Georges St. Pierre (Welterweight) -- You know you're good when fans and media rip you for not winning the right way. GSP continued his dominance by adding two more victories to his eight-fight win streak. He broke Josh Koscheck's face and nearly ripped off Dan Hardy's limbs. He didn't lose a round in two five-round fights. He also embarrassed Koscheck as a coach on "The Ultimate Fighter" and showed non-MMA fans that you can be a gentleman outside the cage and coldblooded inside.
Frank Edgar (Lightweight) -- Edgar compiled an 11-1 record before 2010 and all anyone could ask the kid was when he was going to drop down to 145 pounds. Few gave him a shot against B.J. Penn, who looked like he was ready for a two or three run as the man at 155. Edgar was the perfect matchup for Penn. His boxing was solid enough to avoid Penn's big shots and his constant movement threw the Hawaiian off his game. Edgar shocked Penn at UFC 112 and did it again in even more convincing fashion at UFC 118. He also proved not everyone from the Jersey Shore is a chemically enhanced animal with an orange spray-on tan.
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