2009 could really be considered the year of the featherweights. The WEC really put the weight division on the map, and both major Japanese promotions, Sengoku and Dream, held featherweight tournaments.

It is only fitting that the ProMMA.info Fighter of 2009 be someone who is now considered the king of that very weight class. In case you slept through the whole year, that king is Jose Aldo.

Aldo started his WEC career in 2008. He scored two impressive victories over Jonathan Brookins and former Shooto world champion Alexandre Franca Nogueira. In 2009, he went 4-0 and capped off the year by dominating the seemingly unbeatable Mike Thomas Brown and winning the WEC crown in the process.

On Jan. 25, 2009 Aldo faced off against Rolando Perez. His opponent posed little challenge and was sent to the showers after tasting Aldo’s trademark knees. A little more than a month later the extremely experienced Chris Mickle stepped into the cage against Aldo. He also failed to make it out of the first round as he was treated to a heavy dose of punches.

After those two fights, Aldo was 4-0 in the WEC and firmly entrenched as a contender for the featherweight championship. The promotion decided to match him against Cub Swanson with a shot at the champion on the line.

Swanson was Aldo’s toughest test to date inside the blue octagon of the WEC. He was 3-1 in the promotion and holds a victory over Dream GP runner up Hiroyuki Takaya. Aldo was not fazed, and put on his most impressive performance to date. He started the fight with a crisp double-jumping knee, and the fight was over in eight seconds.

The victory earned Aldo a shot at Mike Thomas Brown for the featherweight championship. Brown was universally accepted as the number one featherweight on the planet after twice dominating Urijah Faber and going undefeated for almost four years.

Aldo quickly showed he could hang with Brown’s physical game. In the end he outclassed the champion in every aspect of the sport. The fight ended with Aldo in back mount raining down punches.

Aldo, at a mere 23 years of age, has made his mark on the sport. As the WEC and the featherweight division expand, there should be no shortage of exciting match ups for the new featherweight kingpin in 2010.

Be sure to check out the rest of the awards
ProMMA.info Breakthrough Fighter of 2009: Muhammed Lawal
ProMMA.info Disappointment of 2009: Josh Barnett

ProMMA.info Submission of 2009: Toby Imada’s Inverted Triangle Choke
ProMMA.info Female Fighter of 2009: “Cyborg” Santos
ProMMA.info Comeback Fighter of 2009: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

ProMMA.info Robbery of 2009: Beebe vs. Easton Decision
ProMMa.info Knockout of 2009: Fedor over Arlovski
More coming soon!

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