Bloody Elbow 2012 Year-End Awards - Best Fighter

Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Over the next few days, Bloody Elbow is going to ask for your opinion on some of the best things that have happened in the MMA world in 2012. There will be a total of eight different categories you'll be asked to vote on. For simplicity's sake we're going to stick with high-level and relevant MMA stuff in these posts. I'm sure there was a crazy three-toed neck crank in M-1's Kazakh rookie series or something, but we'll just go with stuff that most people have actually seen here. Cool?

It's pretty simple. I'll post 10 options in a category, you vote for what you think was the best. If you think I left something really important off my list, post it in the comments and we can add it to the poll if it's deemed worthy. I can almost guarantee you won't like all my suggestions, but narrowing down these lists to 10 is tough.

Before we get to this one, you can vote on Best Submission, Best Celebration, Best Feud, Best Comeback, and Biggest Upset at the applicable links.

Now, let's move onto one of the bigger awards of the year - best fighter. Many guys (and girls) had huge years in 2012, and it's time to narrow a long list down to ten. In no particular order:

Ben Henderson - His first win over Frankie Edgar wasn't convincing enough for some (including Edgar), so Bendo beat him again. Then topped off the year with a dominant decision win over Nate Diaz. The lightweight kingpin definitely established himself as a top P4P fighter in the sport in 2012.

Cub Swanson - Three fights. Three knockout wins. Two knockout of the night awards. Pretty great year for the talented featherweight.

Matt Brown - After going 1-4 in 2010/11, Brown completely turned it around in 2012. He went 4-0 and finished three of those bouts by KO/TKO, the most important being his knockout of Mike Swick on national TV.

Jon Jones - Bones had a rough year outside of the cage, but dominant wins over Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort proved that he's still one of the best fighters in the game (if not the best).

Demetrious Johnson - After going to a majority draw with Ian McCall the first time, Mighty Mouse came back with a definitive win over Uncle Creepy. He then stepped up and beat Joseph Benavidez to become the first UFC flyweight champion.

Ronda Rousey - First-round submission wins over Miesha Tate and Sarah Kaufman solidified her position as the top women's fighter in the world, and now she'll be main-eventing a UFC card.

Constantinos Philippou - Wins over Court McGee and Riki Fukuda are good, but Costa really made his year when he stepped in as a late replacement against Tim Boetsch and stopped him.

Cain Velasquez - His decimation of Antonio Silva and Junior dos Santos gave him back his status as the top heavyweight in the sport.

Stefan Struve -The big guy finished all three of his 2012 fights, and has really come into his own. And he's still only 24.

Rafael dos Anjos - Entertaining wins over Kamal Shalorus, Anthony Njokuani, and Mark Bocek have RDA knocking on title contendership in a very tough lightweight division.

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