UFC 140 propels '11 out with a bang

Was UFC 140 the best card of the year?

Zuffa is on quite a roll right these days. UFC 139, Henderson vs. Rua, was tremendous. As was UFC 136. The Brazilian card, 134, had many moments to remember. The first UFC headlined by bantamweights, 132, delivered a memorable night. April's UFC debut in Toronto, 129, played out in front of a record crowd for the company and featured the retirement of Randy Couture and the continued coronation of champions Jose Aldo and Georges St. Pierre. The year kicked off on New Year's Day with that classic draw between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.

There's so much to look back on in 2011, you can get lost in it all.

But back to the original question. Was UFC 140 the best event of 2011?

It sure feels that way. What a card. High-quality MMA. Huge emotional swings. Crazy turn of events -- I don't know that I've ever seen anything quite like Frank Mir's win against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Violent action -- as violent as the sport will allow if you're into that sort of thing. And affirmation of a dynamic young champion who looks poised to reign for a long time to come.

As far as I'm concerned, there wasn't a better card in the sport over the past 12 months, and that's saying a lot. Reflected in that reality is the abnormally high marks for fighters.

Josh Gross covers MMA for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at JoshGrossESPN.