2010 closed out 2 days ago, and I am still striving to recover from the alcohol-induced stupor that I have been reduced to since the early hours of 2011. To help me kill my time, which is going both painfully and slowly, I have decided to produce a series of 'Top 10 of 2010' lists. There is a strong likelihood that many of you won't agree with my opinions, but quite frankly, I don't care. At least writing this is more enjoyable than watching re-runs of Coronation Street on TV.
Without further ado, let me present the first Top 10 List for you all to enjoy:
Top 10 Most Successful Fighters in 2010, Part 1: #10 - 6
10. Nick Diaz
Coming 'Straight Outta the 209' and into the list at #10 is the 'homie' of Cesar Gracie himself, Nick Diaz, who has had a phenomenal 2010.
In early 2010, Diaz became the Strikeforce Welterweight champion when he stopped the then-Cro Cop-imitator, Mariuz Zaromskis via punches. Diaz then went on to defeat Hayato "Mach" Sakurai in a non-title bout by utilising his BJJ skills to coax a tapout from the Japanese fighter in under 4 minutes. The "Stockton Bad Boy" rounded off his 2010 by beating his one-time vanquisher, K.J. Noons via unanimous decision to retain his Welterweight title.
Although it can be argued that Diaz hasn't really had the toughest of opponents during 2010, his 3 wins, his acquisition of a title belt, and the entertainment that was the infamous "Strikeforce Nashville Brawl" does enough to put Diaz into the list.
You might find it strange that a fighter who only had one fight in 2010 managed to make it onto the list, but lets break down what Fabricio Werdum achieved on June 26, 2010: "He. Beat. Fedor. Emilianenko."
Fedor had not lost since 2000, via a dubious 'cuts' decision which has been scoffed at and largely ignored by fans. Werdum, on the other hand, had recently been uppercutted out of the UFC by Junior Dos Santos, before finding success against sub-standard opposition in Strikeforce. In summary, the odds of Werdum winning were about the same as winning the lottery, or getting bitten to death by a camel.
Then this happened:
For that feat alone, Fabricio Werdum has earnt himself the #9 spot on the list.
Number 8 on the list goes to the "Shit-Lightweight-Turned-Amazing-Featherweight", the Japanese sensation that is Michihiro Omigawa.
Omigawa had 3 fights in 2010, and much unlike his customary self, only one of the bouts ended in a decision. In all seriousness, one has to applaud Omigawa for doing a complete U-Turn in his career. Most people would have given up if they held a record of 4-7, and there is no doubt that many of his relatives and close friends might have suggested that he pursued an alternative career choice.
Fortunately for us all, Omigawa decided to persevere with fighting, and since dropping to Featherweight, he has managed to pull his record to 12-8-1. His resurgence and new-found rise to prominence did not go unnoticed by the UFC, who promptly re-signed him to their Featherweight division.
Will Omigawa have an answer to Mendes' wrestling, or can Omigawa steal an decision in his UFC re-debut? The answers will be revealed on Feb 5, 2010, but in the meantime lets just sit back, relax and watch the beatdown that Omigawa put on 2 of his opponents in 2010.
Omigawa v Young Sam Jung:
Omigawa v Cole Escovedo:
7. Hatsu Hioki
Hailing from the land of the Rising Sun, and probably one of the more obscure fighters on the list is the current World Victory Road Featherweight champion, Hatsu Hioki.
Shooto's prodigal son (now adopted by World Victory Road) has had an incredible year, winning all 3 of his fights in 2010. Furthermore, his last fight of the decade came against the Brazilian destroyer of men, Marlon Sandro, a fight where he won via Unanimous Decision.
Hioki's success in fighting could not have come at a better time, as the better known top Japanese fighters such as Shinya Aoki, "KID" Yamamoto and Takanori Gomi have all found mixed success at this stage of their careers. At the age of 27, and with his impressive skills and arsenal, it wouldn't surprise me if one of the major US promotions soon comes knocking at Hioki's door in 2010.
For more of Hioki's incredible skills, I recommend that you read this article from MMAScraps, and immerse yourself in his brilliant demonstration against Marlon Sandro at "WVR: Soul of Fights".
Rounds 2 and 3:
Rounds 4 and 5:
6. Rick Story
Unlike the other 'part-time' fighters in the UFC, Rick Story fought 4 times in 2010 and was successful in each bout. Granted, some might cry that he was lucky to get the nod over Nick Osipczak, but lets look at where they are in their careers at this current moment in time:
Rick Story is a promising fighter in the UFC, Nick Osipczak is a promising fighter not in the UFC.
"Horror" Story used 2010 to eliminate the memories of his debut in 2009, where he lost via Unanimous Decision to another young prospect, John Hathaway. Despite the majority of his wins coming via decision, Story is an exciting fighter who definitely gives it his all every time he enters the Octagon, and this showed in his last fight of 2010, where Story used his wrestling, submissions and striking to come away with a victory over the "Sadollah-Slayer", Johny Hendricks.
Whats the next chapter in the "Horror" Story? Well, Story decided to bravely/foolishly (eliminate as you see fit) call out a reborn Thiago Alves, who showed in his last fight against John 'Doomsday' Howard exactly how lethal he can be when he is in the right frame of mind and not turning up to fights overweight.
Has he bitten off more than he can chew by requesting a fighter with "The Pitbull"?
I guess we'll find out in 2011, but win or lose, if Story continues to develop as progressively as he did in 2010, we could see him vying for the Championship belt sooner rather than later.
Credit goes to Lakemen, Randomhobbies1, Drufasaa and DJSexStyle for the videos. Quick, watch them before they get removed!