Top 5 Dominating Combat Sports Champions In 2013

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The 5 Most Dominating Combat Sports Champions of 2013

Gary A. Vasquez-USA Today Sports

It is always a topic for discussion: who are the most dominant fighters in the world, boxers or mixed martial artists? Though the issue will never be settled inside the ring/cage, it is always debatable. Though they are different in almost every aspect of the game (footwork, skill set, conditioning), one thing is certain about the two: both sports have very skilled fighters at the top of the food chain.

There have been countless title fights in 2013 in both boxing and MMA. Some of them are better than others and some are just down right tremendous. In MMA, the UFC sits at the top when it comes to talent. In boxing, fighters tend to weave through different "organizations" until they find one that ranks them high enough to fight for a belt.

No matter what path a fighter takes to a title, it is always hard to maintain it once they reach the mountaintop. There will always be someone challenging for a title. Whether it's a young gun prepping to show his/her stuff or an older fighter looking to return to glory, there will always be someone looking to take what they believe is theirs.

When we look back at 2013, there have been champions aplenty. From Anthony Pettis taking the UFC lightweight title from Ben Henderson to Bernard Hopkins claiming the IBF light heavyweight title over Tavoris Cloud, titles have and will always change hands.

Here are the five most dominating champions of 2013 when it comes to combat sports in general:

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Honorable Mention: Jon Jones

Tom Szczerbowski-USA Today Sports

Whether you love him or hate him, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is a dominant champion. In 2013, he defended his title against Chael Sonnen and Alexander Gustafsson. In his title fight against Sonnen, the champ turned in a quick performance by finishing the fight within the first round.

Things got tougher for Jones in his second title defense of the year. Gustafsson pushed the champ to the limits in a fight many believed the challenger won. Despite the controversy, Jones showed he has the heart of a champion by defeating the Swede.

Had Jones dominated Gustafsson like he did Sonnen, he would have been ranked in the top-five on this list.

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5. Andre Ward

Gary A. Vasquez-USA Today Sports

WBA and WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward has looked unstoppable as of late. Undefeated as a professional boxer (27-0), he defended his titled only once in 2013. That one title defense was against 24-0 Edwin Rodriguez. The fight wasn't even close.

Ward recorded a unanimous decision victory over Rodriguez with the judges scoring the fight 118-106, 117-107, and 116-108. Finding a contender to actually challenge Ward is going to be hard to come by in 2014.

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4. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA Today Sports

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the consensus best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. With a 45-0 record and no one coming close to defeating him, he will remain there until his career comes to an end. Money defended his WBC welterweight title once this year (against Robert Guerrero) and took the WBC/WBA light middleweight title from Saul Alvarez.

Everyone expected Mayweather to defeat Guerrero easily, which he basically did, but a victory was in question when it came to Alvarez. Canelo was young, strong and dominant in his fights leading up to Mayweather. Promoters used all of that to promote the fight and it worked. Mayweather/Alvarez broke records.

Mayweather proved that hype was the only thing the pay-per-view was by picking Alvarez apart during the fight. Who will he fight next? Only time will tell.

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3. Demetrious Johnson

Kyle Terada-USA Today Sports

Demetrious Johnson capped off a terrific 2013 campaign with a win over Joseph Benavidez this month. Mighty Mouse defended his title three times this year (Benavidez, John Moraga and John Dodson) and was not threatened in any of his title defenses. Two of those opponents are believed to be in the top-five in the flyweight division (Benavidez and Dodson).

Johnson finished two of his three title fights within five rounds. He knocked out Benavidez in the first round and submitted Moraga late in the fifth round. Dodson was the only opponent see the final bell.

With the flyweight division still new in the UFC, there will be plenty of challengers chomping at the bit to fight Johnson. The problem is that none of them have the skill set to defeat Mighty Mouse.

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2. Wladimir Klitschko

Witters Sport-USA Today Sports

Few made it look easier than Wladimir Klitschko when it came to defending titles in 2013. The younger of the two Klitschko brothers defended his titles twice this year and did not break a sweat in either bout.

Klitschko TKO'd Francesco Pianeta in the sixth round in May and made Alexander Povetkin look unworthy in October. In the Povetkin fight, the judges only scored one round in favor of the challenger. There is virtually no heavyweight available that can challenge Klitschiko and win.

It is highly possible that Klitschko will seek to obtain the only other title available in heavyweight boxing by the end of next year.

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1. Cain Velasquez

Andrew Richardson-USA Today Sports

In a sport where a fighter has to be excellent in every discipline of the game, it's hard to look dominate for an extended period of time. That is, unless your name is Cain Velasquez. The UFC heavyweight champ is here to stay. With a style that cannot be matched in the division, Velasquez looks as though he will remain on top for a while.

In 2013, Velasquez defended his title twice and finished both bouts by TKO. In his fight with Antonio Silva, the champ blitzed his opponent and finished the fight in the first round. Against the durable Junior dos Santos, Velasquez was finally able to finish the fight in the fifth round.

Velasquez is as explosive as a heavyweight can be and is ruthless in his assaults. With the state that the UFC heavyweight division is currently in, it doesn't look like anybody is beating Velasquez any time soon.