Before I unveil who I believe to be the 2008 Fighter of the Year, I figured I would run down the list of candidates who were considered for the award but fell somewhat short of their run for my prestigious (o.k. maybe not) award. Instead of just running down a top ten, I'll list the names and key victories which is why I considered them for the award. In compliance for my award, fighters had to have fought three times within the 2008 year or else they were not considered for the award. I don't think that fighting once every four months is too much to ask for in the grand scheme of things.
Thiago Alves: Holds dominant victories over Karo Parisyan, Matt Hughes, and Josh Koscheck. All three are top ten welterweights and arguably top five at the time of the fight(s).
Kenny Florian: Holds dominant victories over Joe Lauzon, Roger Huerta, and Joe Stevenson. He handed Huerta his first loss and stopped Stevenson a full round earlier than Penn.
Miguel Torres: Destroyed Chase Beebe, Yoshiro Maeda, and Manny Tapia en route to becoming the most dominant 135-pound fighter in the world today. Arguably the top fighter in the world.
Demian Maia: Submitted Ed Herman, Jason MacDonald, and Nate Quarry which established himself as a legitimate contender (and threat) to Silva's 185-pound crown.
Eddie Alvarez: Had some major wars in 2008. Defeated the likes of Ross Ebanez, Andre Amade, Joachim Hansen, and Tatsuya Kawajiri. Can really make a legitimate case for Fighter of 2008 if he beats Aoki on New Year's Eve over in the Land of the Rising Sun. And if he does beat Aoki, he'll be the 1B fighter in the Fighter of the Year talk for me.
But none of these guys could top what my Fighter of the Year accomplished. So, without further ado, here he is.
Gegard Mousasi: In 2008, Mousasi fought a grand total of six times. In all six fights, he came away victorious. It wasn't just the fact that he won six times, either. It's the fact that he finished five of those fights. All five of those fights that he finished, he finished in the first round. Three by knockout and two by submission. The kid is the total package at 185 pounds. His list of victims was quite well-known. They were Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos, Steve Mensing, Denis Kang, Dong Sik Yoon, Melvin Manhoef, and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza. The last four guys took their losses to Mousasi in the DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix. Those four guys are not easy opponents either. Each presents different challenges and are stiff competition. And he defeated them without too much problem in the grand scheme of things. In the final night of fights, Mousasi steamrolled through Manhoef (by submission) and Jacare (by knockout) in a grand total of 3:43. In those six fights, he fought a grand total of 28:19. Or, basically, 4:43 per contest. Unless Alvarez steamrolls through Aoki, which is possible, this pick for the 2008 Fighter of the Year will not change for me.