Jeremy Botter: Edgar’s 2010 was as strong as anybody in the sport, and he’s only been in the cage with B.J. Penn. A dominant win over Gray Maynard at the end of the year should seal his candidacy for Fighter of the Year, but that’s far from a foregone conclusion.
Spencer Kyte: Edgar is essentially the reverse Aldo, in that everyone agrees the UFC lightweight champion could earn gold down a division. For now, he doesn’t need to go anywhere, as the New Jersey native is the best 155-pound fighter on the planet.
Matt Brown: What an amazing run for Edgar. He went from everyone calling for a move to the WEC to twice dominating a man many considered to be the best lightweight in the world in BJ Penn. He’ll have a chance to truly quiet his critics with a victory over Gray Maynard, the only fighter to ever defeat him.
5. Jon Fitch
Jeremy Botter: Fitch was, for lack of a better term, “Fitched” by the UFC. The guy just keeps winning, but he’s held out of title shots due to his boring style. But guess what? The UFC isn’t going to change their ways. If you want a title shot, you’re going to need to do something about it.
Spencer Kyte: Say what you will about Fitch’s fighting style and lack of finishes; the guy has lost once since 2003, and that came against the man who sits second on this list. The former Purdue Boilermaker would be a dominant champion if not for some guy named St. Pierre.
Matt Brown: There’s no doubt that everyone wants to hold a title at some point in their careers. In Jon Fitch’s case, it might have to come at 185 pounds. Despite beating, and for the most part dominating, every opponent other than Georges St. Pierre, it looks like Fitch is at least 8-10 months away from being considered for a shot at the welterweight belt.
6. Mauricio Rua
Jeremy Botter: Rua is on the shelf until February. Or May, depending on who you believe. Either way, he’s got a date with an apparently-disgruntled Rashad Evans waiting when he comes back.
Spencer Kyte: “Shogun” looked amazing ending Lyoto Machida’s championship run atop the light heavyweight division, reminding everyone why he was considered the top 205-pound fighter in the world before coming to the UFC. The only concern is that Rua went under the knife again after his win, and it took about two years for him to come all the back after his last procedure.
Matt Brown: We’ll have to see how Shogun responds to this surgery. Last time around, he gave a lackluster performance against Mark Coleman and got choked out by Forrest Griffin. Rashad Evans, who will have had several months to prepare and gameplan for the fight, will greet him in the cage when he is able to make his return.