I was a fan of the very early UFC, like up through maybe Ultimate-96. Back then I was a Don Frye fan. Then I lost track of the sport until 2009, when I became a huge hardcore fan again. I was looking at my SBN profile and I realized that all of my favorite fighters were entirely or nearly well-established veterans in 2009: Fedor, GSP, Monson, Mir, Machida, Rashad.
Fedor is, of course, a god and will always be my hero and my favorite.
I admire GSP's skill, dedication, nerdiness, and general non-jerkness.
I like Monson because I read the article about him in ESPN magazine in a doctor's office and we have similar political commitments.
Mir is a fellow atheist and I thought his trash talk before the Carwin fight was funny. "See, there are numbers on the side of the weights..." Also I hated Brock Lesnar, so.
Machida headlined the first UFC I watched when became a fan again, which was 98. I like that his approach is unique and his commitment to karate.
See the problem? Fedor is retired. GSP is technically in his prime, but it remains to be seen if he can truly come back from his injury. Monson isn't retired, but he really should consider it. He's 41 years old and has had 10 fights between this year and last, I'm worried about him. Mir has been on a pretty good run, but he's almost certainly on the downward slope, plus he acts like a dick sometimes. Machida and Evans have quite a ways to go yet, I'm ok there.
But really, my favorites are mostly retired, old, declining, or injured. What am I to do? When I first saw tape of Fedor, I was like holy crap. I mean he had me at hello. SInce then I haven't felt a instant affinity for any fighter, really. I was really impressed with Maiquel Falcão when I first saw him fight, but the whole attacking-a-woman thing is a disqualifier. Who are the classy high-skill non-douchebag possibly anarchist fighters of the next ten years?