A Look Back at 2012 - The Definitive Fighter of the Year Thread (Long Read)

Det Kimble

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Aug 20, 2007
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If you guys vote, please post in the thread who you voted for and why. Thanks.

With Cain's victory on Saturday, I think he is the clear winner for Fighter of the Year 2012. To be fair, however, let's take a look at some of the potential candidates for Fighter of the Year. This thread will list the accomplishments of this year's champions + other potential contenders for Fighter of the Year.

Note: A loss automatically disqualifies a fighter from being a contender for FOTY.


Heavyweight (265lbs)
Cain Velasquez
Record: 2-0 (W Antonio Silva; W Junior Dos Santos)


Short Bio: After losing his belt to Junior dos Santos in 2011, Cain vowed to bring the belt back to AKA in 2012. Cain's first step to reclaiming his title was facing a fighter who beat the likes of Andrei Arlovski and Fedor Emelianenko: Antonio Silva. Cain returned with a vengeance and left Bigfoot in a pool of his own blood. This victory earned him a rematch against Junior dos Santos. The two heavyweights met on December 29. Cain showed why many considered him the next big thing in the heavyweight division. From dropping JDS, to scoring multiple takedowns, there was nothing JDS could do to stop the relentless Velasquez from reclaiming his title. Cain closes the year with a perfect 2-0 record and a new UFC belt.

Light Heavyweight (205lbs)
Jon Jones
Record: 2-0 (W Rashad Evans; W Vitor Belfort)


Short Bio: The 2011 Fighter of the Year looked to be on pace to become the 2012 Fighter of the Year. After outworking his rival, Rashad Evans, he was scheduled to face off against the legendary Dan Henderson at UFC 151. Unfortunately, the injury bug struck, and Dan Henderson had to pull out of the fight. The injury plus other factors led to the cancellation of the event, a first in (Zuffa) UFC history. Vitor Belfort stepped in on short notice to fight Jon Jones in the main event of UFC 152. Despite being a significant underdog, Vitor Belfort secured an armbar early in the first round. The invincible Jon Jones nearly tasted defeat, but he managed to defend the armbar and took control of the fight. Jones racked up another submission victory, making Vitor tap to an Americana in the 4th round.

Middleweight (185lbs)
Anderson Silva
Record: 2-0 (W Chael Sonnen; W Stephan Bonnar)


Short Bio: Chael Sonnen's victory over Michael Bisping earned him a rematch against middleweight champion Anderson Silva. In their first fight, Chael dominated Anderson for four rounds, only to let it all slip away in the last couple of minutes of the fight. Following the first fight, fans clamored for the rematch. After nearly two years, it was time for Anderson and Chael to meet again.

In the rematch, Chael started strong, dominating the first round. It seemed like it was going to be a repeat of the first 23 minutes of their UFC 117 fight, but Silva proved why he is one of the top P4P fighters in MMA. Anderson was able to stuff Chael's takedown attempts in the 2nd round. Chael threw a spinning back fist that Anderson effortlessly dodged, causing Chael to stumble to the mat. Here, Anderson threw what many at the time thought to be an illegal knee. Of course, this was not the case. Anderson showed why he is the best striker in the game by throwing a pin-point accurate knee to the solar plexus, crippling the gangster from West Linn. This victory improved Anderson's title defense record to 10-0.

Anderson's final fight of 2012 came against TUF 1 alum Stephan Bonnar. Although many felt Bonnar was outmatched in this fight, Anderson still managed to impress us. Saying Anderson effortlessly TKO'd Bonnar would be an understatement.

Welterweight (170lbs)
Georges St. Pierre
Record: 1-0 (W Carlos Condit)


Short Bio: One phone call could have prevented this amazing comeback. Georges St. Pierre revealed that he was ready to retire after suffering a knee injury that put him out of action for nearly two years. Georges returned to the Octagon to face one of his most dangerous tests to date: Carlos Condit. Many criticize GSP's fighting style, but this fight was anything but boring. Georges looked to be in control for the first two rounds. Then, in the third round, Condit shocked the world by dropping GSP with an unorthodox high kick. Since the first Matt Serra fight, many have questioned GSP's mental strength and physical ability to recover from a hard shot. GSP silenced his doubters by recovering and dominating the rest of the fight. With this victory, GSP has racked up seven consecutive title defenses.

Lightweight (155lbs)
Benson Henderson
Record: 3-0 (W Frankie Edgar; W Frankie Edgar; W Nate Diaz)


Short Bio: Benson started the year off by winning the title from Frankie Edgar in a competitive fight. Some felt Frankie should have been awarded the decision, so the UFC granted Edgar an immediate rematch. The two met again in August at UFC 150. Once again, the two fought a competitive fight; however, most scored this fight for Frankie Edgar. Still, Benson was awarded the decision. With two questionable victories, Benson needed to make a statement to show why he was the true #1 lightweight in the world. He did so by decimating Nate Diaz at the UFC on Fox 5 event. The highlight of this fight was not the punch that dropped Diaz; it was not Bendo's leg jabs...Nope. The highlight was the fact that he did all of this with a toothpick in his mouth!
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Featherweight (145lbs)
Jose Aldo
Record: 1-0 (W Chad Mendes)


Short Bio: Some say quality trumps quantity. Luckily for Jose Aldo, his sole victory in 2012 was against the #2 featherweight in the world. Jose was under a lot of criticism at the beginning of the year because it had been a while since he delivered a HL reel KO. People began to question whether the knockout artist from the WEC was gone. Jose reminded everyone why his precision is really precise (wrong guy?). Aldo literally knocked Chad Mendes out in the last second of the first round. If this was not enough to add to a highlight reel, Aldo's celebration with the UFC 142 crowd definitely was.

Bantamweight (135lbs)
Dominick Cruz
Record: 0-0


Short Bio: Cruz was not available for comments.

Renan Barao
Record: 2-0 (W Scott Jorgensen; W Urijah Faber)


Short Bio: Dominick Cruz's absence prompted Dana White to set up an interim title bout between contenders Urijah Faber and Renan Barao. Barao, sporting an impressive 28 fight win streak, was viewed as the favorite going into the fight. He showed why he was the favorite, winning a one-sided decision against the former WEC Featherweight champion. With this victory, an emotional Barao achieved his life goal of becoming a world champion.

Flyweight (125lbs)
Demetrious Johnson
Record: 2-0-1 (D Ian McCall; W Ian McCall; W Joseph Benavidez)


Short bio: 2012 saw the addition of the 125lb division in the UFC. Eight flyweights battled in a tournament for the championship. In the first round of the tournament, Ian McCall was set to face Demetrious Johnson. A controversial draw led to an immediate rematch between the two to settle the score. Johnson proved to be the better fighter by winning a decision against McCall. Johnson faced Joseph Benavidez in the finals. Demetrious won a convincing decision, crowning him the first Flyweight champion in UFC history.

Women's Bantamweight (135lbs)
Ronda Rousey
Record: 2-0 (W Miesha Tate; W Sarah Kaufman)


What can I say about Rousey that she probably hasn't already said? Rousey was easily one of the most polarizing fighters of 2012. From the ESPN body issue to being the first female fighter to sign with the UFC, Ronda is arguably the most talked about fighter in MMA. Rousey started the year off by winning the Strikeforce title against her rival, Miesha Tate. She finished Tate with a gruesome armbar. In August, Rousey only needed 54 seconds to armbar Sarah Kaufman, making this Rousey's first successful title defense.
Other Contenders

Alexander Gustafsson
Record: 2-0 (W Thiago Silva; W Mauricio Rua)

Anthony Pettis
Record: 1-0 (W Joe Lauzon)

Chan Sung Jung
Record: 1-0 (W Dustin Poirier)

Chris Weidman
Record: 2-0 (W Demian Maia; W Mark Munoz)

Constantinos Philippou
Record: 3-0 (W Court McGee; W Riki Fukuda; W Tim Boetsch)

Cung Le
Record: 2-0 (W Patrick Cote; W Rich Franklin)

Daniel Cormier
Record: 1-0 (W Josh Barnett)

Dennis Siver
Record: 2-0 (W Diego Nunes; W Nam Phan)

Donald Cerrone
Record: 2-0 (W Jeremy Stephens; W Melvin Guillard)

Eddie Wineland
Record: 2-0 (W Scott Jorgensen; W Brad Pickett)

Fabricio Werdum
Record: 2-0 (W Roy Nelson; W Mike Russow)

Fedor Emelianenko
Record: 1-0 (W Pedro Rizzo)

Gilbert Melendez
Record: 1-0 (W Josh Thomson)

Gray Maynard
Record: 1-0 (W Clay Guida)

John Dodson
Record: 2-0 (W Tim Elliott; W Jussier da Silva)

Johny Hendricks
Record: 2-0 (W Josh Koscheck; W Martin Kampmann)

Jon Fitch
Record: 1-0 (W Erick Silva)

Luke Rockhold
Record: 2-0 (W Keith Jardine; W Tim Kennedy)

Marcos Galvao
Record: 3-0 (W Ed West; W Travis Marx; W Luis Alberto Nogueira)

Matt brown
Record: 4-0 (W Chris Cope; W Stephen Thompson; W Luis Ramos; W Mike Swick)

Michael McDonald
Record: 1-0 (W Miguel Torres)

Nate Marquardt
Record: 1-0 (W Tyron Woodley)

Pat Curran
Record: 1-0 (W Joe Warren)

Raphael Assuncao
Record: 2-0 (W Issei Tamura; W Mike Easton)

Ricardo Lamas
Record: 1-0 (W Hatsu Hioki)

Rory MacDonald
Record: 2-0 (W Che Mills; W BJ Penn)

Who is your fighter of the year?

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Bendo for me.

Beats Edgar for the belt, defends it in a fight most people thought he lost but still did enough to convince the judges otherwise, which says alot within itself. The mauls Diaz for 5 round live on Fox, dominating him in every aspect of the game.
I said if velasquez beats jds he should be fighter of the year. People disagreed with me and said bendo should be awarded with that title. However I think condit is the true fighter of the year.
I said if velasquez beats jds he should be fighter of the year. People disagreed with me and said bendo should be awarded with that title. However I think condit is the true fighter of the year.

But he went 0-2
anderson for me
chael andy was the biggest event of the year
I said if velasquez beats jds he should be fighter of the year. People disagreed with me and said bendo should be awarded with that title. However I think condit is the true fighter of the year.

I think Cain is the obvious choice, but I could see arguments for Bendo, Jones, and Rousey. As for non-champions, it's between Hendricks, Weidman, and Le.
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Its Bendo for me, but I don't think Cain is undeserving.
tough choice between bendo and cain...

might give it to cain despite bendos dominant performance in his last fight because 1- bendo lost his title defense before that and 2- cain dominated BOTH his fights as opposed to bensons 2 controversial wins to one dominant win

actually, id give it to mighty mouse.

he made history becoming the first flyw champ...
Alright, guys, I'm about to add a poll to this thread. Here are the options I am considering:


Is there anyone you would rather see on the poll? I might take Le or Gus out and add Mighty Mouse.
My vote goes to Ronda. Kauffman and Tate are the best you can beat at 135.
Alright, guys, I'm about to add a poll to this thread. Here are the options I am considering:


Is there anyone you would rather see on the poll? I might take Le or Gus out and add Mighty Mouse.

Yes, Mighty Mouse is more deserving than both Gus and Le
My vote goes to Ronda. Kauffman and Tate are the best you can beat at 135.

She's a decently sized fish in an unimaginably small pond. Sorry, but the talent level in WMMA right now is more or less nonexistent compared to regular MMA.

Bendo, Cain and Mighty Mouse are more deserving by far.
I knew Cain was gonna reclaim his throne, him tearing his Acl two weeks out before his last fight really changed the way he fought. I love that Cain was upset the video of him tearing his acl was released, he makes no excuses is a 100% classy and is a great fighter.

JDS was getting way too cocky, its funny he said in his pre fight interview Cain's acl injury didn't factor into the first fight, I think he learned his lesson. I look forward to the trilogy fight
1. Ronda, Bad Blood match with Tate lived up to the hype, Destroyed Kaufman, Posed naked for ESPN issue, Got Dana to promote her to 1st UFC Women's champion
2. Cain, Destroyed Bigfoot, Destroyed JDS winning the title and avenging his only loss
3. Bendo, Beat Edgar twice in okay fights, Dominated Nate Diaz
Bendo for me. That toothpick trick alone was worthy of him being Fighter of the Year - that was unprecedented!