Contrary to popular belief, there is no Year Zero. Decades run from XXX1 to XX10. So while other MMA sites erroneously ran decade retrospectives last year, Bloody Elbow stayed the course of truth and fact. We polled the staff for their picks in a variety of topics covering the first decade of the third millennium A.D. Here's what they had to say.
Kid Nate: Matt Serra drubbing Georges St. Pierre. Serra hadn't even earned a title shot. He was a true welterweight. He was a UFC washout. GSP was the best of the best. He looked utterly invincible after demolishing Matt Hughes to take the title. Seeing Serra not just win but make GSP tap from strikes was something no one expected to see.
Brent Brookhouse: Matt Serra beating GSP was shocking, but it didn't have long-term significance beyond allowing everyone to bring it up before every GSP fight. Werdum beating Fedor was huge for sure but I still don't feel like I know what it means long-term. Randy Couture was supposed to lose to Chuck Liddell at UFC 43. If that wasn't clear by the talk from MMA fans and media, it certainly was clear when Liddell was given one of the most elaborate entrances in promotion history. Couture was dropping to light heavyweight after having been "outsized" by Josh Barnett and Ricco Rodriguez and Chuck was just treading water as the force at 205 that just couldn't get his shot at Tito Ortiz. This fight was supposed to set up Chuck/Tito but Couture had other plans. He completely dominated the heavy favorite and ushered in a great period of light heavyweight fights between Ortiz, Couture, Liddell and Belfort. The upset launched the UFC's 205 division to new heights and was one of the moments that cemented Couture's legacy in the sport.
Mike Fagan: I've gotta go with Matt Serra flattening Georges St. Pierre at UFC 69. GSP carries the cross of that fight to this day. Pre-fight predictions are clouded by the spectre of the image of GSP swimming for safety on the floor while Serra rained blows from above. Other fights - Rogerio Nogueira vs. Sokoudjou, in particular - might have had longer odds, but this fight significantly changed the course of high-level MMA.
Anton Tabuena: Matt Serra TKO's Georges St. Pierre - April 2007. After tearing through the welterweight division with wins over the likes of Matt Hughes, BJ Penn, Frank Trigg, Sean Sherk, and Jason Miller, GSP was widely considered as one of the best fighters on the planet. Matt Serra came along, and people didn't even think he deserved the title shot, let alone have the skills to compete with the champion. He proved everyone wrong though, and it has gone down as one of the biggest upsets in history.
Scott Haber: I'm going purely by the numbers here, so criticize me for that if you will, but Sokoudjou was twice the underdog against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at Pride 33 than Matt Serra was against GSP, so that's my pick. Serra was a legitimate veteran and a former title contender, and even though GSP was thought to be untouchable, especially given Serra's assumed skill-set, Sokoudjou was brought in as a Japanese freakshow opponent to give Lil' Nog an easy win. There was no pretense of competitiveness in this one.
Jonathan Snowden: Fabricio Werdum wasn't supposed to beat the great Fedor Emelianenko. No one was - and no one had since a fluke cut stoppage a decade prior. No one remembered to tell Fabricio, and history was made on Showtime.
Chris Barton: I really wanted to pick Anderson Silva vs Mach Sakurai because people tend to forget what an amazing upset it was at the time, but my vote has to be Matt Serra defeats Georges St. Pierre for the UFC Welterweight title. Not many people thought TUF winners getting title shots made much sporting sense, Lutter and Serra were sent to the killing fields. Most of the conversation revolved around which of those two men were unluckier, having to fight Silva or GSP. They say every dog has his day and Serra had his Balboa moment to cement himself into history.