Sherdog’s Miscellaneous Awards for 2008

Beatdown of the Year

Jan 10, 2009
Photo by

Joe Stevenson caught a
beatdown of epic proportions.
Sherdog’s Beatdown of the Year
By Greg Savage

You have to go all the way back to January to find’s Beatdown of the Year.

It was back at UFC 80, where B.J. Penn laid claim to the lightweight crown with a pulverizing performance over Joe Stevenson. If the epic nine-minute flurry Penn unleashed on his overmatched foe wasn’t enough to cement this as the preeminent one-sided match of the year, the arcing spurts of blood cascading from Stevenson’s gaping lid could do the trick.

In 2008, like every other year, mixed martial arts had its share of lopsided affairs. Far be it from me to keep this discussion anchored to just Mr. Penn and Mr. Stevenson.

There was the absolute destruction of Tim Sylvia by some “Crazy Russian” named Fedor. Let’s not forget the 25-minute blood bath endured by Jon Fitch at the hands of Georges St. Pierre. And last but certainly not least was the Thai plum clinic administered to Brandon Wolff by Ben Saunders (word has it the hematomato has finally subsided).

In the end, what vaulted Penn’s assault on Stevenson over the rest of the pertinent pummelings was the fact that what many thought would be a close battle between two cagey veterans turned into a massacre. Penn thoroughly thumped the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner right from the get-go, opening a huge cut over his left eye and setting the tone for the championship affair.

For anyone who couldn’t figure out how dominating Penn was in the first round, a bloody halo remained after Stevenson peeled himself off the canvas. It might as well have been a chalk outline.

Always game, Joe “Daddy” kept scrapping. His heart and determination would come back to haunt him on this January night, though. After recharging between rounds and possibly looking to swing a little momentum back in his direction, Stevenson found himself on the receiving end of more punishment.

The fight was halted for the doctor to check the gaping wound on Stevenson face, but he was allowed to continue despite the crimson stripe of blood staining him. He then ran straight into a Penn outburst that concluded with a right uppercut that put him to the canvas. From that moment on, the end, which may have seemed imminent in the first frame, was a mere formality.

Penn would eventually move to mount and then take Stevenson’s back for the fight-ending rear-naked choke, but this fight will always be remembered for the absolutely vicious assault perpetuated by the new champion, leaving the textbook submission as little more than an afterthought.

I honestly think Penn took more damage in his postfight celebration than he did throughout the two-round tussle. As he rode around on his brother’s shoulders, Penn, punching his own face, delivered the only meaningful blows he would incur in that trip to the Octagon.

Let’s not forget Penn’s postfight speech either. The outspoken Hawaiian ruffled a former champion and future opponent’s feathers when he stated, “Sean Sherk, you are dead!” While he didn’t actually kill him, Penn did go on to dominate Sherk on his way to another stoppage win that has set up what very well may be the biggest fight in MMA history. On Jan. 31, he will take on Georges St. Pierre in a rematch for the UFC welterweight title. If successful, Penn will be the first fighter to simultaneously hold UFC belts in multiple divisions.

While it may seem farfetched, could we be looking at another January winner for Beatdown of the Year for 2009? We’ll just have to wait and see.
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