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Bloody Elbow 2016 Half-Year Awards - Best Fighter

Make your pick for the best fighter of the first half of 2016 in Bloody Elbow's Half-Year Awards.

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

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 2016. With these being half-year awards, there will be an abbreviated number of categories - five to be exact.

For the sake of simplicity 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 six years in a row. Originality? What originality?)

It's pretty simple. I'll post five or more 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.

Our fourth category is best fighter. Sure it's only been six months, but a number of fighters are having a pretty good year already. So let's pick who the best one is. You can also still vote for best submission, best knockout, and best event.

Stipe Miocic -Stipe opened the year with a 54-second knockout of Andrei Arlovski at UFC 195. That earned him at title shot against Fabricio Werdum on enemy grounds at UFC 198, but he was more than up to the task. Miocic caught a plodding Werdum with a huge shot that put him down and gave Cleveland's finest the UFC heavyweight strap. He now gets to headline a show in his hometown against Alistair Overeem in September.

Dominick Cruz - After fighting just once in three years, Cruz stepped into the Octagon to take back the title he never lost to another person. It was a tough bout, but Cruz defeated T.J. Dillashaw for the UFC bantamweight belt in January, then punctuated his title reign with another big win over Urijah Faber in June.

Stephen Thompson - Coming into 2016, only one man out there that can say he had defeated Johny Hendricks and Rory MacDonald. That would be champion Robbie Lawler. But Thompson one-upped the champ by stopping Hendricks and dominating Rory - just a few months apart.

Michael Bisping -His huge win over Anderson Silva was one thing, even if he did seemingly get KO'd in the fight. When he stepped up on short notice to rematch Luke Rockhold in a surprising title shot, not many were giving him a chance. But the ultimate underdog stepped up when it counted, knocking out his rival and becoming one of the most unlikely champs in UFC history.

Donald Cerrone - Cerrone closed out 2015 on a bad note, getting handled by lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos. He has rebounded nicely at welterweight though, stopping Alex Oliveira and Patrick Cote over the first half of 2016.

Nate Diaz - He's the only guy on the list that competed just once so far in 2016. But that one fight was incredibly huge. Diaz came up against the dominating force at UFC 196, and he put him down. Diaz getting the tap out of Conor McGregor might have been one of the most memorable things in the sport's history to this point, and I don't think that's an overstatement.

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