We demonstrated four different laser operational states in the same passive fiber ring laser cavity by controlling solely the polarization state in a saturable absorber. The demonstrated laser operational states were continuous wave, mode-locking, Q-switching, and Q-switched mode-locking. The saturable absorber was fabricated by spin-coating a single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT)/polymer composite on a side polished fiber providing enhanced nonlinear interaction with the SWCNT. The wide tuning range of the saturable absorber allows the simple means to generate different forms of laser output from a single laser cavity. (C) 2016 Elsevier B. V. All rights reserved.