Even before UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (15-1) had defended his title against Lyoto Machida earlier tonight, many were saying his 2011 was one of the single greatest years in the history of MMA.
After submitting the former champion in the second round, it's safe to say this year for Jones has surpassed Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's respectable and impressive 2005 streak.
With the victory over Machida, the 24-year-old has added "The Dragon" to his long list of victims in 2011, which includes Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Ryan Bader and Rua.
Jones earned his shot at the title during a February bout when he submitted Bader at UFC 126. When his training partner, Rashad Evans, got injured and pulled out of a bout with Rua, Jones stepped in and defeated the Brazilian Muay Thai specialist to win the belt and become the youngest UFC champion at the age of 23.
In his first defense at UFC 135, Jones fought Jackson and dominated the fight before submitting the former champion in the fourth round. Even after that victory, some thought it had been too good to be true considering how the belt had been changing hands quite frequently, especially in the 205-pound weight class.
Now, with an easy submission win over what many perceived as his toughest test, and someone who may have been his most interesting challenger, Jones claims four wins over top-10 light heavyweights in a single year alone.
Rua's 2005 streak was considered by many to be the best of any fighter up until now, and that included victories over Alistair Overeem, Ricardo Arona, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Quinton Jackson and Hiromitsu Kanehara. The wins over Overeem and Arona came on the same night.
That seven-month stretch of bouts earned Rua the title as 2005's Fighter of the Year, as well as the Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix Champion.
At a time when the sport is more evolved and fighters try their hardest to look invincible, Jones has done it and made it look easy every step of the way.