It’s that time of year again for MMA awards, now that 2019 has passed us and we are well into 2020, we can reflect and look back at all the great moments and memories has brought us in the world of mixed martial arts. This sport constantly provides shocking results, news, and highlights and 2019 was no different. I have put a lot of consideration into my list of MMA awards for the year. I have broken down the awards into two categories and will be written into two articles. The first will be 5 MMA awards dedicated to the fighters. and the second article will be dedicated to 5 MMA awards for specific performances.
I would love to hear your opinion and what you thought so don’t forget to leave a comment below!
Male Fighter of the year: Jorge Masvidal (MMA Record: 35-13)
Masvidal took a long layoff from the sport without fighting at all in 2018 and spent time partaking in a reality show. After his time off, Masvidal took the sport and the UFC by storm with three finishes in three fights. It all started in March when he took on Darren Till (MMA record: 18-2) in his home town England, who at the time the UFC was pushing to be the next big thing. Jorge finished him by TKO in the second round. To make things even more fun after the fight with Till, he had a bit of a backstage scuffle with Leon Edwards where Jorge gave him a “three piece and a soda”.
In his next fight taking place in in July, the much-anticipated fight against wrestling standout Ben Askren (MMA record: 19-2). Ben was undefeated at the time with a record of 19-0. Askren is also quite the self promoter so a lot of nasty exchanges on social media and prefight interviews were traded between the two. So what did Jorge do about it? He set the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history at a whopping five seconds. With a flying knee and two follow up punches that were “super necessary”, Jorge put himself into the record books and quickly became a star.
That lead to his fight against Nate Diaz (MMA record: 20-12 in November. Built up as the Baddest Mother Fucker Belt or the BMF belt, Jorge and Nate had the unique opportunity to fight for the novelty belt and bragging rights. Both are known for action packed style of fights and they delivered. Masvidal ended up winning by doctor stoppage due to a cut before the start of the first round. Dwayne The Rock” Johnson wrapped the belt around his waste for added entertainment. The possibilities are now endless for the welterweight fighter.
Female Fighter of the Year: Amanda Nunes (MMA Record: 19-4)
The moment Amanda Nunes defeated Cris Cyborg (MMA record: 22-2) for the UFC Female Featherweight title in 2018; she can arguably be considered the greatest female fighter of all time. She has maintained her motivation to compete and had two very strong performances in 2019. The first being in July against Holly Holm (MMA record: 13-5) defending her UFC Female Bantamweight title who at the time was the only top tier female fighter who she has not fought. Holm who is known for her striking ability as a former boxing champion, and the one who famously knocked out Ronda Rousey to become the second Female Bantamweight Champion. Nunes wanted to beat Holly at her own game and did the same to her by finishing her with a head kick followed up by punches in the first round.
The second fight she had in 2019 was a rematch against Germaine de Randamie (MMA record: 9-4) once again defending her UFC Female Bantamweight title. Nunes won the first fight back in 2013 by TKO but since then Germaine had won and relinquished the Female Featherweight title and was on a five-fight winning streak. Nunes wanted to prove how well rounded her game was by not risking her chances on the feet against a kickboxing specialist. With that, Nunes dominated with a grappling heavy game plan on her way to a decision victory.
Breakout Fighter of the Year: Weili Zhang (MMA Record: 20-1)
Weili Zhang has one of the best records in all of MMA at 20-1. And in 2019 she went from relatively unknown to UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion. Starting the year in March, she defeated the always durable contender Tecia Torres (MMA record: 10-5) by decision.
In her next fight she was matched against the champion Jessica Andrade (MMA record: 20-7) in August. To top things off, the fight took place her native country China where the UFC held its first event on mainland China. The UFC obviously could greatly benefit from having the hometown hero win. So that was exactly what she did with a first round TKO finish and crowning herself the new UFC Female Strawweight Champion. With China having the largest population in the world and deep seeded roots in the martial arts, it can now lean on a champion as a driving marketing force to push the sport and brand to new heights in the coming years.
Comeback of the Year (Career): Jorge Masvidal (MMA Record: 35-13)
I have already talked at length at the great year Masvidal has had in 2019, and I am confident that he will carry that momentum in 2020. But to put it into perspective, he has been doing this fighting thing for a long time and has consistently been great but never put together a long enough win streak against the right people to really put him in title contention. In 2017 he lost two of the three fights and did not fight at all in 2018. Coming out in 2019 with three straight finishes against top contenders garnering lots of attention and turning him into arguably the second biggest star in the sport behind Conor McGregor (MMA record: 22-4). With this career resurgence, he is the frontrunner to face the Irishman or against the UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman (MMA record: 16-1).
These are my picks for the MMA Awards 2019. I would love to hear your opinion, please leave a comment below!