Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time! It has been an extraordinary year of ups and down for all of those involved in the rapidly growing world of mixed martial arts, but all things must come to an end, and it’s time for FiveOuncesofPain.com to dish out our official year end awards for the crazy year that was 2009.
We’ll be diving headfirst into a series of fifteen end of the year awards, with a new award being distributed every single day through December 31 with a special two part New Years Day year-end award extravaganza.
In this edition we have FiveOuncesofPain’s top five fighters of 2009. Among the many factors taken into consideration when making this decision were significance of wins and level of competition:
1. Lyoto Machida: “The Dragon” became the number one contender, captured the championship and defended his light heavyweight title against three of the toughest fighters 205 pounds has to offer, all in the span of a single year. Agree with the decision or not, Lyoto most recently captured a victory over a top notch Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, knocked out Rashad Evans for the strap, and started out the year with a brutal knockout over Thiago Silva.
2. Gilbert Melendez: There is virtually no possible way that “El Nino” could have had any better of a year as the Cesar Gracie trained lightweight had in 2009. Melendez started out things with a bang, knocking Rodrigo Damm senseless in a 5 Oz. Knockout of the Year honorable mention before he avenged the only two defeats in his professional career; stopping Mitsuhiro Ishida via TKO before pulling out the decision over Josh Thomson to unify the Strikeforce lightweight crown in the 5 Oz. Fight of the Year.
3. Jose Aldo: Although three of Aldo’s victims this year can’t really be considered top notch competition, an eye dazzling eight second flying knee knockout of Cub Swanson and a thorough beatdown of Mike Brown, who many considered to be a top ten pound for pound fighter at the time, to earn the WEC featherweight title made this twenty-three year old phenom an easy choice for the top five.
4. Georges St. Pierre: St. Pierre only fought twice this year, but in true GSP fashion the UFC welterweight champion made them count with landslide victories over the likes of B.J. Penn and Thiago Alves.
5. B.J. Penn: It’s definitely surprising to see a fighter with a loss make the top five this time around, but Penn’s complete domination of Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez at his natural weight can not go ignored.
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua