2016 MMA Awards

2016 MMA Awards

Via Rolling Stone

Welcome to our second set of this year’s FGB Awards, the 2016 MMA Awards.

If you missed our boxing awards, check those out.

Here are the categories for the 2015 MMA Awards:

Fighter of the Year
Show of the Year
Fight of the Year
Breakout Star
Big Things in 2016

Participating in the awards are FGB writers Duan, GG, and Alex Goff.

Fighter Of The Year

Duan: Michael Bisping
Bisping’s 2016 almost seems impossible. He beat the greatest fighter ever in his weight class, won the title and then defended it by avenging his most damaging defeat. Impressive for anyone, unbelievable for a 37 year old on a career downturn. It makes you wonder how different his legacy might have been had he been dealt an even hand during his prime years.

Duan’s previous winners:
2015: Conor McGregor
2014: Robbie Lawler
2013: Chris Weidman
2012: Anderson Silva
2011: Junior Dos Santos
2010: Cain Velasquez
2009: Lyoto Machida
2008: Brock Lesnar

Alex: Conor McGregor
This guy embodies what it means to be a prize fighter; from his mega fights with Nate Diaz, to his winning a belt in a second division. It seems like the entire conversation on Conor has switched and now it’s about pure excitement over what he will do next, which everyone will pay attention to.

Alex’s previous winners:
2015: Conor McGregor
2014: Robbie Lawler

Jim: Conor McGregor
McGregor carried the company on his back in 2016. After winning the featherweight championship in December of 2015, he fought a pair of welterweight fights and made a superstar out of Nate Diaz. He then went on to fight for the lightweight championship in November, handily dismantling the champ, Eddie Alvarez, and becoming the first UFC champion to hold titles in two weight classes at the same time.

Jim’s previous winners:
2015: Conor McGregor
2012: Johny Hendricks
2011: Jon Jones
2009: Gegard Mousasi

GG: Conor McGregor
I think there were five solid candidates for this award. In addition to McGregor, Amanda Nunes, Cody Garbrandt, Michael Bisping, and Stipe Miocic all have arguments based on their years. To me, what makes McGregor the winner (even though he actually lost a fight this year) is that his degree of difficulty was deeper than everyone else’s. He took it old school and fought guys at two different weight classes which weren’t his normal weight class. It was great to see.

GG’s previous winners:
2015: Conor McGregor
2014: Robbie Lawler
2013: Cain Velasquez
2012: Anderson Silva
2011: Jon Jones
2010: Cain Velasquez
2009: Georges St-Pierre
2008: Georges St-Pierre

Show Of The Year

Duan: UFC 205
This one lived up to its billing as the most loaded UFC card of all time. It was the perfect balance between great action and great spectacle.

Duan’s previous winners:
2015: UFC 189
2014: UFC Fight Night Dublin
2013: UFC on Fuel 8
2012: UFC 142
2011: UFC 139
2010: WEC PPV
2009: DREAM 11
2008: DREAM 5: Lightweight Grand Prix Finals

Alex: UFC 205
When the big UFC happens, there are few things that are better. This was the big UFC with exciting big fights up and down the card, headlined by Conor defeating Eddie Alvarez in an easy manner.

Alex’s previous winners:
2015: UFC 189
2014: UFC 178

Jim: UFC 205
There weren’t too many dull moments on this card and it lived up to the hype.

Jim’s previous winners:
2015: UFC 187
2012: UFC 146
2011: UFC 139
2009: UFC 100

GG: UFC 205
I have to agree with Duan and Alex. If one single card embodied UFC’s year, this was it. UFC 200 promised to be the deepest card all year. UFC 205 delivered UFC 200’s promise.

GG’s previous winners:
2015: UFC 189
2014: UFC 175
2013: UFC 167
2012: UFC On Fox 5
2011: UFC 139
2010: UFC 116
2009: UFC 100
2008: UFC 91

Fight Of The Year

Duan: Carlos Condit vs Robbie Lawler
Among the best five round championship fights in UFC history.

Duan’s previous winners
2015: Andrei Arlovski vs Travis Browne
2014: Erick Silva vs Matt Brown
2013: Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann
2012: Joe Lauzon vs Jim Miller
2011: Gray Maynard vs Frankie Edgar II
2010: Leonard Garcia vs Jung Chan-Sung
2009: Hiroyuki Takaya vs Hideo Tokoro
2008: Eddie Alvarez vs Tatsuya Kawajiri

Alex: Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 2
An amazing fist fight, it will go down in history as one of the most important, exciting fights the company ever put on. As the sport gets older that fight will serve as a landmark.

Alex’s previous winners:
2015: Conor McGregor vs Chad Mendes
2014: Erick Silva vs Matt Brown

Jim: Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 2
A back and forth war the entire fight. In a year with some really great fights, I think this was my favorite.

Jim’s previous winners:
2015: Daniel Cormier vs Alexander Gustafsson
2012: Joe Lauzon vs Jamie Varner
2011: Michael Chandler vs Eddie Alvarez
2009: Diego Sanchez vs Clay Guida

GG: Cub Swanson vs Doo Ho Choi
I was all ready to go with Duan’s choice with Condit and Lawler until UFC 206, which was a card that didn’t get watched all that much on PPV, even though a lot of people did when it got a second run on FOX. It may have been the single best fight that I’ve seen. It was reminiscent of Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida from 2009, but with guys coming back from more wicked shots. I think I said that Choi was out at least three times during the fight and he kept coming back. It was ridiculous.

GG’s previous winners:
2015: Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald
2014: Erick Silva vs Matt Brown
2013: Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson
2012: Joe Lauzon vs Jim Miller
2011: Gray Maynard vs Frankie Edgar II
2010: Chris Leben vs Yoshihiro Akiyama
2009: Diego Sanchez vs Clay Guida
2008: Rampage Jackson vs Forrest Griffin

Breakout Star

Duan: Stipe Miocic
Miocic is somebody I never thought had what it took to be the top dog in UFC, but he dominated the heavyweight division in 2016. Three bouts, three first round KOs, two performance bonuses and one fight of the night honours. It was a hell of a year for the new champion.

Duan’s previous winners:
2015: Holly Holm
2014: Conor McGregor

Alex: Michael Bisping
Everyone had written off Bisping, but getting three big wins in 2016 placed him in front of the 185 pound division. Considering the competition gets steeper as he is looking at fighting Yoel Romero or Jacare Souza next year, you can’t discount his 2016 no matter what happens in 2017.

Alex’s previous winners:
2015: Conor McGregor
2014: Conor McGregor

Jim: Cody Garbrandt
Four fights in 2016, three first round KOs and a decision victory over longtime champion Dominick Cruz. Cody looked great in all his fights, and probably won a few more fans for the VIP treatment he bestowed on his biggest fan, a young man battling leukemia. Who doesn’t love a shit talker with a heart of gold? Haters, that’s who.

Jim’s previous winners:
2015: Holly Holm

GG: Amanda Nunes
It’s really a tie between Cody Garbrandt and Nunes here. Garbrandt beating Cruz was one of the most impressive things I saw all year, but what separates Nunes from him slightly is that she beat the two biggest names in the division. Even though she wasn’t the biggest name at UFC 200, she did win the fight that was the official main event. That’s going to be a fantastic trivia question in a few years.

GG’s previous winners:
2015: Holly Holm
2014: TJ Dillashaw

Big Things in 2017

Duan: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Nurmagomedov is a nightmare match up for anyone in his division. The big fights are going to come for him in 2017 if he stays healthy.

Duan’s previous winners:
2014: Kyoji Horiguchi
2013: Vitaly Minakov
2012: Gunnar Nelson
2011: Nick Diaz
2010: Eddie Alvarez

Alex: The post Ronda Rousey UFC
She was their most important star and while it hasn’t completely faded, she will take a backseat and likely leave the sport. What will the women’s 135 division look like with no Rousey and no Tate. The feud that created interest.

Alex’s previous winners:
2015: Tony Ferguson
2014: Jacare Souza

Jim: Kyoji Horiguchi
Horiguchi tore it up in 2016 and I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the championship this year.

Jim’s previous winners:
2015: Robert Whittaker
2012: Bellator
2011: Rory MacDonald

GG: Jacare Souza
Jacare had one successful fight in 2016. With Michael Bisping as champion and Yoel Romero the probable next contender, Souza may have to wait for his chance for a little while in 2017. But I think he’s going to end the year as middleweight champion.

GG’s previous winners:
2015: Tony Ferguson
2014: Conor McGregor
2013: Khabib Nurmagomedov
2012: Ronda Rousey
2011: Nate Diaz
2010: Jon Jones

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