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Bloody Elbow 2013 Half-Year MMA Awards: Best Fighter

Make your pick for the best MMA fighter from the first half of 2013 in Bloody Elbow's Half Year Awards.

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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 over the first half of 2013. There will be a total of six 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. While I'm sure there was a ludicrous knockout in an unscheduled MMA event at The Lumberyard strip club in Des Moines, or an insane pancreas lock submission on an obscure ZST! card in Japan, let's just stick to stuff a lot of us have seen, okay? (If that spiel looked familiar, it's because I've used the same one for three years in a row. Originality? What originality?)

It's pretty simple. I'll post some 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 is tough.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's get onto the poll - the best fighter of the first half of 2013. Six months isn't a big period for MMA fighters to stand out, but there were a few. So let's check em out.

You can still vote for Best Submission here, Best Celebration here, Best Comeback here, and Biggest Upset here.

Here we go, in no particular order:

Pat Curran - He has gone 2-0 so far this year. The first was a close, technical win over Patricio Freire. The second was a dominant first-round submission win over tourney winner Shahbulat Shamhalaev.

Urijah Faber - Faber's 2013 has flown under the radar a bit due to his standing in the bantamweight division. He picked up a really nice submission win over Ivan Menjivar, then stepped up on short notice to become the first man to submit Scott Jorgensen in almost seven years. Not a bad start to the year.

Doug Marshall - He was a big underdog in every one of his three Bellator middleweight tournament fights this year, and he won them all. Two by knockout too. Not bad for a 37-year-old former WEC light heavyweight champ that many assumed was on the downside of his career.

Vitor Belfort - The man knocked out top-10 middleweights Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold so far this year. Take the TRT out of it for a second - that is a mightily impressive resume.

Josh Burkman - He knocked out Aaron Simpson and submitted Jon Fitch. Pretty good for less than four minutes of cage time in 2013.

Glover Teixeira - Glover has steadily rose though the ranks of the UFC light heavyweight division with wins over Quinton Jackson and James Te Huna in the last six months.

Emanuel Newton - Three wins and two finishes, including the knockout of King Mo. Pretty good for a few months of work.

T.J. Grant - The UFC lightweight rocketed up the rankings by stopping Matt Wiman and Gray Maynard in the first round of each bout. He earned a title shot with those victories.