Best of Canada 2013: Fighter of the Year
2013 was a great year for Canadian fighters. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, athletes put on awe inspiring performances. That was especially the case last year for fighters on the international fight scene as they dominated the top 3.
Top MMA News Top 3 Fighters of 2013
1. Georges St-Pierre (2-0)
2013 may have been the last year that fans had the privilege to watch GSP compete in the cage. 2013 also saw GSP face his stiffest competition to date. The man known as “Rush” started his 2013 campaign in March by selling a mass amount of wolf tickets to his bout with Nick Diaz. St-Pierre used quick footwork and a stiff jab to keep Diaz off his game en route to a 50-45 decision. After dominating Diaz for 25 minutes, St-Pierre took eight months off before stepping in the cage against what could be argued his stiffest test to date – a bout against two time NCAA Division 1 champion Johnny Hendricks. The debate between whether GSP won the narrow decision or if he was truly defeated will continue to rage, but in the end “Rush” was able to pull off the close decision on the judges score cards. For defeating two opponents who were rated in the top 3 worldwide and defending his UFC title in the process, Georges St Pierre earns the honor as Top MMA News’ Canadian Fighter of the Year.
2. TJ Grant (2-0)
The Cole Harbour, NS native entered his 2013 campaign riding high on a three fight win streak and being undefeated since dropping down to Lightweight. In his first bout of the year, Grant challenged Matt Wiman, who was coming off a spectacular submission of win over Paul Sass, and displayed some vicious Muay Thai battering Wiman with punches and elbows to earn a first round TKO finish. With such an impressive win, Grant was granted a title eliminator versus Gray Maynard. Grant did what no one expected as he bullied “The Bully” around the ring with punches finally trapping him against the cage. What followed was a violent display of striking and Grant unleashed punches, elbows and knees on the battered former title challenger. Maynard was fallen twice before the referee finally halted the assault. The win, and more importantly, the spectacular fashion in which he earned it set Grant up with a shot at then champion Benson Henderson. Unfortunately, TJ suffered a concussion in training when a partner’s heel inadvertently struck his head during a grappling session. Hopefully 2014 will see Grant finally get the shot at the gold he deserves, but until then his fantastic 2013 earned him the silver medal in Top MMA News’ Canadian Fighter of the Year.
3. Alex Garcia (3-0)
“The Dominican Nightmare” had a year that saw him defeat three undefeated prospects and earn himself a UFC contract. Garcia started his year by earning a hard fought unanimous decision over Ryan Dickson, a then undefeated fighter who trains under Jeff Joslin. Alex used his wrestling and increasingly feared power punching to bloody and control Dickson. Next up for the Tristar trained fighter was a match up with undefeated prospect Chris Heatherly who was thought to be a good match for Garcia. That was not the case as Garcia quickly pressured Heatherly against the fence and started unloading bombs. As Chris turned to avoid the shots, Garcia took his back and sunk in the rear naked choke just 1:42 into the opening round. With two big time wins under his belt, Garcia earned himself a UFC contract and a trip down under to Australia. Alex made his UFC debut against TUF veteran Ben Wall as the opening bout of the evening. In a brief :43, Garcia landed a big right hand that KO’d the Aussie and earned Garcia a triumphant first win in the UFC. With an ever increasing game and feared punching power Gacria earned himself the bronze medallion in Top MMA News’ Canadian Fighter of the Year.
- Matt MacGrath (3-0) – MacGrath had a great year going unbeaten against Mark Holst, Christ Franck, and Richard Arsenault.
- Kalib Starnes (4-0) – Starnes rejuvenated his career with wins over David Perron, Clay Davidson, Tim Hague, and Dwayne Lewis.
- Michael Karkula (2-0) – Karkula put himself on the map with wins over Brad Cardinal and Jesse Gross.
- Alexis Davis (3-0) – Davis put herself into UFC title contention and defeated Shayna Baszler, Rosie Sexton, and Liz Carmouche.