With the last major MMA event complete for 2008 its time to pick the fighter of the year. I've listed the winner at the very end as well as my pick for knockout, submission and upset of 2008.
Note: This isn't a pound for pound list. Its a subjective analysis of the most impressive performances of 2008 taking in account a fighters winning percentage, competition, number of fights and type of victory. Here is my top ten in no particular order.
BJ Penn (2-0) UFC
Wins UFC light heavyweight belt in impressive fashion and defends it against number one contender Shean Sherk in a three round domination.
Rashad Evans (2-0) UFC
The TUF 2 winner shocks the MMA word with a high light reel knockout over Chuck Liddell and wins UFC lightweight belt against Forests Griffin at UFC 92.
Anderson Silva (3-0) UFC
"The Spider" started the year with the most important victory of his career. He then moved up to light heavyweight division and destroyed James Irvin. His year ended with a lackluster title defense against Patrick Cote.
Thiago Alves (3-0) UFC
The Brazilian stopped the once unstoppable Karo Parisyan in April, destroyed Matt Hughes in England and dominated Josh Koscheck in October.
Georges St. Pierre (2-0) UFC
Becomes undisputed UFC Welterweight Champion with an easy TKO victory over Matt Serra and defends his title for the first time with a five round domination over number one contender Jon Fitch. Late this year it was announced that BJ Penn had challenged GSP to a rematch in 2009. The mega fight will headline UFC 94 in Las Vegas. GSP enters the bout as a commanding favorite over Penn.
Gegard Mousasi (6-0) Dream/M1
An incredible 6 victories without defeat. Mousasi started year with quick TKO victory over impressive striker Evangelista Cyborg and knocked out Steve Mensing a month later. At only 22 years of age the Dutchmen entered a very competitive Dream middleweight GP and submitted the highly ranked Denis Kang in the first round. He followed it up with domination over veteran Dong Sik Yoon in the quarter finals and soon became the tournament favorite. He easily accounted for Melvin Manhoef with an amazing triangle choke and KO's BJJ sensation Ronaldo Souza with vicious up kick all in the same night.
Alistair Overeem (3-0-1) Dream/FEG/Golden Glory/Strikeforce
An incredible comeback year for the Golden Glory fighter. To top it all of Overeem accepts a K1 rules match with the worlds most feared striker and knocks him out in the first round. Watch the Badr Hari vs. Overeem fight here.
Eddie Alvarez (4-1) Dream/FEG
Part of some of the most exciting MMA action of 2008. Decisions highly ranked light weight Joachim Hansen in a spectacular battle and follows it up with a TKO victory over Tatsuya Kawajiri in an exciting Dream lightweight GP semi final. Injury prevents the 24 year old from participating in the final. A submission loss to Shinya Aoki his only blemish for the year.
Miguel Torres (3-0) WEC
Stared 2008 with by capturing WEC Bantamweight championship with an easy victory over Chase Beebe. He followed it up with a entertaining win over Yoshiro Maeda and ended the year with a TKO victory over Manny Tapia.
Kenny Florian (3-0) UFC
TKO's young gun Joe Lauzon and decisions rising star Roger Huerta. Ends 2009 with an impressive first round win over TUF winner Joe Stevenson.
Gegard Mousasi: An easy decision in the end. There have not been many fighters this young this good. He is on track to become one of the worlds best pound for pound fighters in the next two years.
Best Submission of 2008
Dustin Hazelett (arm bar) over Josh Burkman at The Ultimate Fighter 7 finale.
Best Knockout of 2008
Rashad Evans (overhand right) over Chuck Liddell UFC 73.
Biggest Upset of 2008
Sergey Golyaev (+751) over Takanori Gomi Sengoku 6.