Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Location: Sacramento, Calif.
Top Performers: Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes
Rising Star: Chris Holdsworth
Top Performance: Chad Mendes gives Clay Guida his first-ever KO loss.
It was a great year filled with lots of wins for Team Alpha Male. That made it kind of hard to pick between Urijah Faber's four dominant victories, Chris Holdsworth's spree through The Ultimate Fighter Season 18, Joseph Benavidez's destruction of everyone other than Demetrious Johnson and plenty of other possibilities.
Ultimately, though, it's impossible to choose anything other than Mendes handing Guida, one of MMA's steeliest fighters, his first knockout loss. When you consider that Guida has fought the likes of Anthony Pettis, Diego Sanchez, Takanori Gomi, Nate Diaz and Rafael dos Anjos, that's quite the accomplishment.
What Made 2013 Great: Utter dominance below 155 pounds.
Team Alpha Male was on a 17-fight winning streak at one point in 2013. That is an astounding feat. It didn't last to the end of the year, though, as TJ Dillashaw dropped a narrow split decision and Benavidez got punched out by Johnson, but Team Alpha Male still had, by far, the best record of any large gym in the UFC.
What to Look Forward to in 2014: Invasion of bantamweight division.
Hey, remember a few years ago when welterweight was pretty thin, and Dana White was pulling out his metaphorical hair about the refusal of Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch to fight each other because they were gym buddies? Okay, now imagine if there were five Koschecks and Fitches.
That is what 135 pounds is shaping up to be in 2013.
Faber and Dillashaw are sitting securely in the Top 10 right now. With some of the division's upper ranks moving down toward 125 pounds, there isn't too much stopping Holdsworth from joining them.
Depending on how things shake out between Faber and bantamweight champs Cruz and Barao, we might see Benavidez move back to bantamweight. On top of that, Mendes is one controversial decision away from having a drop to bantamweight look pretty darn good.
Oh, and how about other affiliated fighters like Bryan Caraway and Scott Jorgensen?