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Bloody Elbow 2016 Year-End MMA Awards - Best Fighter

Make your pick for the best MMA fighter of 2016 in Bloody Elbow's Year-End Awards.

Per Haljestam-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 course of 2016. There will be a total of eight different categories you'll be asked to vote on. 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 5-10 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 is tough.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's get onto the sixth poll - the best fighter of 2016. A lot of fighters had breakthrough years, and many of them were unexpected. Who had the greatest 365 days?

Before that though, if you haven't yet, go back and vote on the first five categories - Best Submission, Biggest Robbery, Biggest Upset, Newcomer of the Year, and Event of the Year.

Cody Garbrandt - Four wins, three finishes. The fourth was a career-making performance against Dominick Cruz where he won the UFC bantamweight title. Oh, and he danced a lot in that fight too.

Misha Cirkunov - He went 3-0 with three submissions. All of them were different subs too. He's a rising star at light heavyweight.

Conor McGregor - He's the only fighter on the list with a loss this year, but he more than made up for it. The biggest draw in the sport avenged his loss to Nate Diaz, then absolutely schooled Eddie Alvarez to become the UFC's first fighter to hold two belts at the same time.

Jon Jones - Just kidding.

Amanda Nunes - Three fights, three wins. The talent she mowed down was unbelievable too - Nunes beat current top contender Valentina Shevchenko, sent Miesha Tate into retirement, and may have done the same to the mighty Ronda Rousey. That's pretty incredible.

Stipe Miocic - He started the year by knocking out Andrei Arlovski. Then he stopped Fabricio Werdum to claim the UFC heavyweight title. Finally, he put Alistair Overeem to sleep in his home town. That qualifies as an awesome year.

Donald Cerrone - As usual, Cerrone fought more than most guys. He won all four of his fights, and finished every one of them. His move to welterweight has been a total success and when Matt Brown wakes up, he'll probably agree with that.

Francis Ngannou - The scariest dude the heavyweight division has seen in a long time. Three wins, three finishes, with the last showing off his crazy strength. I don't think many top-ranked fighters want to meet this guy in the cage in 2017.

Michael Bisping - Oh, Michael. You rascal. I don't think anyone was putting money down on you making this list in 2016, but you damn well earned it. After somehow beating Anderson Silva despite having your face destroyed by a knee, you showed up as a late replacement against a guy that already beat you - and knocked out Luke Rockhold to win the UFC middleweight title. Then he survived the H-Bomb and beat Dan Henderson by decision to defend it. Amazing year, sir. Amazing.

Gegard Mousasi - After a shock loss in late 2015, Mousasi arguably had the best year of his career in 2016. Four wins, with the last three coming via his fists. He avenged the loss to Uriah Hall after stopping Thiago Santos and Vitor Belfort. Not bad.

Derrick Lewis - The Black Beast is another guy that won four times this year. Take out the ugly win over Roy Nelson (where he almost took his head off with a punch but Big Country took it somehow), and you have three KOs and a whole lot of funny tweets.

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