2012 MMA Awards Picks: Top Moments of 2012
The Best MMA Moments of 2012
Sport can be beautiful. It's a competitive, fierce, and mostly violent activity no matter what you're playing. Mixed martial arts is a combat sport, thus it is one of the most violent sports that people can participate in.
However, that doesn't take away from the fact that there are some cool and sometimes very beautiful moments in MMA. Some of them aren't hard to see as long as you're able to see what's in front of you as it's happening. Other moments become big over the course of the year when the importance of that moment comes to light. In the fight game, fans and viewers alike love a good knockout, but that's not the only kind of magnificent moment fight sports can provide. Sometimes it's about the setting of the moment, or the events after it, or the events leading up to it, or a number of different factors that can help create a great moment.
As I took the time to mention when I used to do this every year: I follow the Wrestling Observer awards voting method, meaning the eligibility period for these awards is December 1, 2011 to November 30, 2012 and, as always, it is based on what I've seen at the time this is posted. That also goes for all winners from 2009, 2010, & 2011 in this special circumstance.
The following is my list of the 10 best moments in MMA during the year.
2008: Rashad Evans Knocks Chuck Liddell Out
2009: Fedor KO's Rogers
2010: Anderson Silva Submits Chael Sonnen
2011: Anthony Pettis' “Showtime Kick” (December 2010)
#10: Ryan Jimmo's 7 second KO of Anthony Perosh/Chun Sung-Jung's 7 second KO of Mark Hominick
Pick your UFC quickest KO and either way you'd be happy. With Sung-Jung it was more about how sudden the KO was than how devastating it was. With Jimmo, it was not only the devastation of the KO (look up the pic of Perosh's face after getting KO'd), but also Jimmo's victory dance complete with full splits.
#9: Nick Diaz's Post-Fight Interview After Loss to Carlos Condit
Normally I don't believe any fighter when they say they are going to retire, but when Diaz said it after his loss to Condit at UFC 143, I believed it. I believed it because of who was saying it and because I'm sure Diaz meant it at the time more than most fighters mean it when they first say they're going to retire.
I do believe that Diaz won the fight and scored it as such, though I do understand how someone could have gotten a 48-47 score from that bout for Condit. But what the judges gave us I did not believe and didn't agree with. So with that in mind, I'm hoping you can understand how I see a fighter's post-fight interview, especially a Diaz brother, being a moment of the year considering the circumstances. Plus, I've always enjoyed the Diaz brothers.
#8: Jon Jones Chokes Out Lyoto Machida
Usually a submission, even where the losing fighter passes out, doesn't make the best moment list unless the bout carried some major historical significance or significance to the promotion it took place in. With Jones' submission of Machida in December 2011, it was noteworthy. The main reason is that the look on Machida's face when he passed out as well as the way his body slumped to the canvas from Jones' standing choke were downright scary. That equals a noteworthy moment in the fight game to me.
#7: Forrest Griffin Conducts Post-Fight Interview With Tito Ortiz After Ortiz's Retirement Fight
This was definitely the most bizarre moment of the year in MMA. It was ad-libbed, but it was also incredibly awkward. You could tell that Ortiz wanted nothing to do with it, and it really seemed that Griffin was in another world during the whole thing despite winning the bout. Here's the thing: it was also a moment that made sense to me at the time only because the three bouts these two had against each other are three of the fights that defined both men from 2006 (when they first fought) right up to that night when Ortiz retired after finishing the trilogy with Griffin.
#6: Carlos Condit's Left High Kick to Georges St. Pierre
This was the definition of an “OH MY GOD!” moment. This nearly turned this title bout into another Matt Serra moment where GSP was taken out by one big shot. In this case the big shot didn't result in a Condit victory. But it did result in another GSP stomping becoming a very compelling and exciting bout for the final three rounds.
#5: Big Nog Returns With Submission Win
I've been a fan of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira since the first time I saw him. So for him to make another return after another long layoff in Brazil and get a win was something very special to me as an MMA fan. What made this instance so special was that Big Nog's win over Dave Herman at UFC 153 in Brazil came by his specialty, an armbar.
#4: Jose Aldo's Run Into Crowd After UFC 142 Win
Spontaneous runs out of the cage and into the crowd aren't new in UFC. What made Aldo's run after knocking out Chad Mendes so noteworthy was that it was a Brazilian doing it in Brazil. What MMA fans who have watched UFC's cards in Brazil have learned is that these are the best MMA fans on the planet when it comes to cheering their native fighters.
#3: Johny Hendricks' KO's of Jon Fitch & Martin Kampmann
Hendricks made his name known in a really big way in UFC's welterweight division during the year. It was Hendrick's KO's of Fitch and Kampmann that has made Hendricks not receiving a title shot that much more stunning.
Hendricks took down Fitch with one punch in 13 seconds, which certainly made Dana White happy. Then almost a year later, he knocked Kampmann out with one punch in under a minute. Both were great knockouts and for both to come in the first minute from the same fighter made them worthy of moment of the year consideration.
#2: Cain Velasquez Bloodies Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
It's rare that I will be screaming at my T.V. screen for a bout to be stopped, but this was one of those times. Velasquez made it known that he was pissed off about losing the UFC heavyweight title in his previous bout, so Bigfoot ended up being the sacrificial lamb to the current king of heavyweight MMA. Velasquez came out throwing from the beginning and ended up bloodying Silva to a degree rarely seen in MMA, especially in the heavyweight division. This was such a beating that the word “epic” was actually accurate.
MOMENT OF THE YEAR 2012: Edson Barboza's KO at UFC 142
It's usually a knockout that wins moment of the year and this year is no different with me. This was the most dazzling KO of the year and a moment that I voted for when it was nominated for an ESPY award. I use the word dazzling because most KO's are either quick or brutal. While this KO was certainly brutal and instant, it was also something different from your typical punch or kick knockout.
The fact that the card was in January 2012 and the moment has held up through the year is a testament to how great this knockout was, or at least how great I thought it was.