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Bloody Elbow Staff Retrospective: Fighter of the Decade

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

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: One fighter dominated more years of this decade than any other: Fedor Emelianenko. From 2001 when he edged out Renato "Babalu" Sobral in a fight many at the time were watching as a meeting of two up and comers to his incredible Pride run when he reigned over the best heavyweight division yet seen in the sport to his Affliction/Strikeforce era, "the Last Emperor" dominated the world of MMA like no other athlete.

Brent Brookhouse: The only fair way to do this in my mind was to pick a best in each weight class and determine which fighter was the top of that group. B.J. Penn was top lightweight but his inconsistency takes him out of the running. Georges St. Pierre is the runaway winner in the welterweight division and has zero unavenged losses. Anderson Silva takes middleweight but since this is best of the decade those losses to Daiju Takase and Ryo Chonan hurt. Light heavyweight is a very tough call and that lack of a dominant force alone disqualifies anyone from that division from getting my vote. And Fedor Emelianenko is the clear heavyweight with only one loss in 30 fights this decade. It comes down to GSP and Fedor and my vote goes to Georges St. Pierre. He just fought high level competition more consistently and has defeated every name worth defeating during his dominant career, that's something Fedor has never been able to say.

Mike Fagan: I think Fedor Emelianenko and Anderson Silva are both fine picks, but ultimately, it's Georges St. Pierre's sustained level of competition that gets the nod from me. He beat Matt Hughes twice. B.J. Penn twice. Josh Koscheck twice. Jon Fitch. Thiago Alves. Dan Hardy. Sean Sherk. Jason Miller. Matt Serra. He avenged the only two losses of his career. The scary thing? GSP is young enough and talented enough to win this award in 2021.

Anton Tabuena: Chuck Liddell. He's not the best fighter in terms of talent, but for majority of the decade, "The Iceman" has been entertaining fans as the face of the UFC. He was the first true mixed martial arts superstar and is one of the major driving factors in pushing the sport towards mainstream acceptance.

Scott Haber: Georges St. Pierre. This man has not only defined how well-rounded a MMA fighter can become, but by constantly striving to improve himself and only training with the best of the best, GSP has shown that a well-rounded fighter can be more than just solid in all aspects, they can be expert in all aspects. He may not have been relevant in the first half of the decade, but his repeated dominance over top competition in the latter half, and his brutal avenging of any losses has shown that GSP strives towards nothing short of perfection in his MMA career, and this more than compensates for being off the radar for the first few years of the decade.

Jonathan Snowden: I love Georges St. Pierre. I think when it is all said and done, we'll consider him the best fighter in MMA history. But for half this decade, Matt Hughes, and not St. Pierre, was the top fighter in the world at welterweight. The one fighter who has been there, a consistent top player from the beginning of the decade until the end, is Fedor Emelianenko. Before Georges came on the scene, Fedor was the most well rounded, physically gifted fighter ever. Before Werdum, this was a no brainer. One loss doesn't change a decade's worth of accomplishment.

Chris Barton: There are precious few fighters who have had top flight careers that span an entire decade. GSP didn't get started until this decade was already rolling by so it feels wrong to include him, although he certainly has been a beast while he has been here. That only left Fedor Emelianenko and Anderson Silva. What a privilege it's been to watch two men who are so amazing at their craft. For me, it's a toss up between those two. They fought almost the same number of times, Fedor fought slightly shakier competition, Anderson has more losses. I'm going with Fedor Emelianenko. If it wasn't for his last fight it wouldn't even be a close discussion. His dominance this decade can not be overstated.

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