Who was the mma fighter of the decade?

We’re into mid-January, meaning we’re almost past the “New Year” phase during which pundits reflect on the past year or years and pass judgment. Almost. Before we fully say goodbye to the 2000s, let’s pick the fighter of the decade.

In mixed martial arts, two criteria stand above all: dominance and longevity. With that in mind, let’s proceed.

Was it Minotauro Nogueira, Mirko Cro Cop or Wanderlei Silva? No. All three dominated the PRIDE circuit in the first half of the decade but all three have been shadows of their former selves since arriving in the UFC, though I’m still holding out hope for Big Nog.

How about Chuck Liddell? The Iceman makes a solid case, as he was arguably the most feared puncher in the sport from 2004-2007, but he stumbled badly in the last few years and seems over the hill.

Lightweight master BJ Penn gets some votes. He’s been around long enough and, if not for his repeated failures at welterweight, could’ve been the choice. But we can’t ignore his struggles at 170 pounds.

Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva are excellent picks and I don’t fault anyone who votes for them. They’re both absolutely dominant fighters who could retire as legends today and have made mockeries of their weight classes.

But my vote goes to Fedor Emelianenko. Say what you want about him ducking opponents of late but there was no more dominant fighter this decade. He took down legends of the heavyweight division – Nogueira, Cro Cop, Mark Coleman – systematically. He finished the decade with an amazing 27-1 (1 NC) record. Best of all, Fedor stands for everything mixed martial arts should be. He’s a perfect hybrid of striking and grappling, combining heavy-handed boxing with sambo and judo. He’s an honourable, modest man who takes every opponent seriously and goes about his business with a stoic demeanour.

The next decade will belong to someone else – St-Pierre? Machida? Jon Jones? – but Fedor is the best mma fighter of the last 10 years.

By Matt Larkin
Guest Writer

MMA Gym Toronto,  North York, Brampton, Etobicoke, Markham, Mississauga, Oshawa, Peel Region, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Thornhill, Vaughan, Woodbridge, York, York Region Ontario Canada.

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