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UFC 'Best Fighter' of the mid-year awards 2013: Vitor Belfort claims top spot over T.J. Grant

Like it or not, two familiar faces, Vitor Belfort and Urijah Faber, are among the Top 5 "Best Fighters" at the midway point of the 2013 mixed martial arts (MMA) season, according to the promotion's "unofficial" assessment.

Photo by Esther Lin for

With several weeks between mixed martial arts (MMA) events, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is taking some time out to highlight its own "unofficial" mid-2013 awards.

Combat sports fans have already been hit with "Best Knockouts" and "Best Fights," which means that it's now time to turn our attention to another Top 5 list:

Best Fighters!

5. Dennis Bermudez -- The Ultimate Fighter 14 (TUF) runner-up is on a four-fight tear, including split decision victories over Matt Grice and Max Holloway this year, the former earning UFC 157 "Fight of the Night" honors.

4. Urijah Faber -- "California Kid" rebounded from a decision loss to interim Bantamweight champion Renan Barao at UFC 149 in mid-2012 and did what he does best, killing 135-pound contenders and making the case that he deserves title consideration again with back-to-back submission victories over Scott Jorgensen at TUF 17 Finale and Ivan Menjivar at UFC 157.

3. Glover Teixeira -- The fearless Brazilian continued to roll in the New Year, bouncing out Quinton Jackson from the promotion via unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 6 and then choking out James Te Huna at UFC 160 to establish himself as a formidable top Light Heavyweight championship contender.

2. T.J. Grant -- Since making his Lightweight debut in Oct. 2011 the Canadian hasn't looked back, piling up five straight victories, including a stoppage of the tough-as-nails Matt Wiman at UFC on Fox 6 and following it up with a ridiculous "Knockout of the Night" performance over former two-time No. 1 division contender, Gray Maynard, at UFC 160 to earn the next crack at 155-pound champion Ben Henderson.

1. Vitor Belfort -- "The Phenom" has done nothing but deliver "shocking main event performances" since a technical knockout loss to division champion Anderson Silva back in 2011, finishing Anthony Johnson and Yoshihiro Akiyama, and more recently, Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping, to warrant considerable rematch consideration if "The Spider" can topple Chris Weidman at UFC 162 next month.

To see the promotion's list of honorable mentions, which includes several Strikeforce imports, click here.

It's hard to argue with this list, especially near the top, with Belfort and Grant taking care of serious business. The loss to 205-pound champion Jon Jones at UFC 152 really hurt Belfort's 185-pound standing, but if he continues to steamroll the competition, the promotion will have no choice but to reward him with his third -- and likely final -- title shot in his most recent tenure.

No pressure.

Teixeira, too, has really made a name for himself, but the promotion has soft-peddled his ascent even though he appears more than ready to challenge the creme-de-la-creme right now. He'll have to first dispatch of Ryan Bader and then perhaps it will be Teixera's time to finally shine.

Or not.

It's obvious most if not all of you will have twisted thoughts and outrageous opinions on this latest list. Let's hear 'em!

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