USA TODAY Sports
The Lightweight and Light Heavyweight champions sit atop the UFC's own list of the best fighters of last year.
With 2012 all wrapped and another week before their first event of 2013, UFC.com posted their list of the top fighters from last year. While overall the year was riddled with injuries that killed some highly anticipated match ups, there was still a lot of good fights. And a few fighters who stood above the rest.
9. Anderson SilvaIt's never surprising surprising to see Silva on a top fighters list. But this was an especially good year for The Spider. At UFC 148, he finished his nemesis Chael Sonnen with a second round TKO. After that, he made UFC veteran Stephan Bonnar feel "like [he'd] never been in a fight before."
8. Mike Pyle, against Josh Neer and James Head. in both those fights, Pyle found himself in trouble looking toward being on the wrong side of a knockout. But also in both fights he rallied and landed the big punch to turn the fight around.
7. Cub Swanson - Before last year, Swanson had been a bit of a wild card. Fans had seen him put on great performances, but also grossly underperformed in other fights. Then in 2012, it looked like Swanson had turned it all around. He went on a 3 fight winning streak, winning each of them by KO or TKO.
6. Stefan Struve - Much like Swanson, Struve has had some ups and downs in the UFC. But in 2012, he put down three opponents and earned himself a top ten ranking.
5. Cain Velasquez - Although he only had 2 fights last year, they were two of the most memorable. At UFC 146 he cameback from losing his title by leaving Bigfoot Silva in a pool of his own blood at UFC 146. Then, despite being a significant underdog, Cain took advantage of his championship rematch against JDS. He put a 25-minute beating on Dos Santos to reclaim his belt and his spot as the #1 Heavyweight in the world.
4. Matt Brown - Brown has long been known as a Welterweight gatekeeper. That didn't really change after his 4-fight run last year, but 4 consecutive wins in a single year is always impressive at the UFC level.
3. Demetrious Johnson - After being robbed of his fourth round against Ian McCall in the first round of the Flyweight tournament, Mighty Mouse went on to win a clear decision over Uncle Creepy. After that, he claimed the title with a unanimous decision over Joe Benavidez despite being the underdog.
2. Jon Jones - Like Anderson Silva, Jones got the chance to beat up his rival. He beat former friend and teammate Rashad Evans from pillar to post at UFC 145. Then, at UFC 152 he overcame a big scare in the first round of his fight against Vitor Belfort. His right arm suffered injury from the failed armbar attempt, but he persevered to get a submission of his own in the fourth round.