1. Jon Jones – Number 1 fighter in 2011 obviously. There’s not much point in even explaining why he was, because anyone that beats 4 Top Ten fighters, wins a UFC Title, Defends it twice, and finishes all his fight in 2011 is by far the fighter of the year.
2. Dan Henderson - There is quite a margin between number 1 and number 2, taking into account that Jon Jones demolished Sho Gun and finished him in the 4th round, while Dan Henderson edged out Sho Gun in a 5 round war. But Henderson did KO Fedor, Fejio , and was involed in by far the fight of the year.
3. Nick Diaz - Diaz defiantly can’t make the argument that he’s not getting enough attention anymore. He was probably the most talked about fighter in the year of 2011. He started off the year by submitting Cyborg, then he KO’d Paul Daley in the best round of the year, and topped of his year with a unanimous decision over BJ Penn. Not to mention his antics outside the cage.
4. Benson Henderson – Even though he didn’t hold a title in Zuffa in 2011, unlike the 3 above him. His 2011 record may not look that impressive when you look at the fact that they were all decisions. But when you look at the excitement factor of his bouts, and the level of opponents he faced, he was one of the best fighters of the year. Beating two, number 1 contenders on his way to a title shot in 2012.
5. Frankie Edgar - He only had 2 fights this year, due to injury to him and his main rival Gray Maynard. But he had 2 phenomenal comebacks at UFC 125, and UFC 136 on his way to becoming one of the top 3 Pound for Pound fighters in the world.
Honourable Mentions :
Donald Cerrone – 4 wins in 2011, maybe not the caliber of opponents that the people in the top 5. But he racked up 3 bonus awards and continued a 7 fight win streak. Even more impressive his year isn’t over, he faces Nate Diaz on December, 30th.
Junior Dos Santos – He only had 2 fights in 2011, but he beat 2 heavy hitting world class wrestlers, and won the UFC HeavyWeight Championship on UFC’s first FOX event.
Anderson Silva – He also only had 2 fights on the calendar year due to injury. But he finished both by KO and got the Knockout of the year of Vitor Belfort while he was at it .