2017 MMA Awards

2017 MMA Awards

Photo via MMA Junkie

Welcome to our second set of this year’s FGB Awards, the 2017 MMA Awards.

Here are the categories for the 2017 MMA Awards:

Fighter of the Year
Show of the Year
Fight of the Year
Breakout Star
Who’s Next

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

Fighter Of The Year

Duan: Georges St-Pierre
This probably won’t be a popular choice but to comeback and win a world title after four years away is a hell of an achievement in a sport that so quickly leaves its past behind. In an era of tarnished legacies, St. Pierre’s return cemented his place as the greatest UFC fighter of all-time.

Duan’s previous winners:
2016: Michael Bisping
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

Jim: Dustin Poirier
Dustin had a great 2017 putting up impressive wins in some of the most exciting fights of the year.

Jim’s previous winners:
2016: Conor McGregor
2015: Conor McGregor
2012: Johny Hendricks
2011: Jon Jones
2009: Gegard Mousasi

GG: Max Holloway
I was thinking of three fighters mainly for this award and the way Max Holloway finished off Jose Aldo twice edged him for me. The other two were Robert Whittaker, who is on the come up, and Tyron Woodley, who defended his title twice, but won both fights by decision.

There’s something about Holloway that stands out to me. He has style, fights smartly, and has charisma to go with it. The UFC is short on star power these days. If I was them, I’d double down on Max. I think he could be a pretty important guy for him in the future.

GG’s previous winners:
2016: Conor McGregor
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 217
The one show this year where everything came together perfectly for UFC.

Duan’s previous winners:
2016: UFC 205
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

Jim: UFC 218
It was hard choosing between UFC 217 and UFC 218, but I gave 218 the nod here. The show wasn’t without a couple lackluster matches, but the main card was really solid and topped off with the KO of the year by Francis Ngannou.

Jim’s previous winners:
2016: UFC 205
2015: UFC 187
2012: UFC 146
2011: UFC 139
2009: UFC 100

GG: UFC 217
I agree with both picks by Jim and Duan. But UFC 217 was the first time all year that one of their shows felt can’t miss. They used to have several per year. That show was must-see and delivered big-time.

GG’s previous winners:
2016: UFC 205
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: Eddie Alvarez Vs Justin Gaethje
Alvarez remains one of the best value for money fighters in the sport. In a year short on classics, his battle with Justin Gaethje stands out from the pack.

Duan’s previous winners
2016: Carlos Condit vs Robbie Lawler
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

Jim: Eddie Alvarez Vs Justin Gaethje
In addition to the great fights put on by Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje turned in a couple excellent outings this year. His fight with Michael Johnson was a barn burner and although he came up short in his battle with Eddie Alvarez, it was probably my favorite fight of the year.

Jim’s previous winners:
2016: Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 2
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: Michael Johnson Vs Justin Gaethje
I didn’t even see this fight live. I think I had it recorded on my DVR and then saw some of the Twitter banter about how crazy it was. It was like a real life Rocky fight with each guy looking finished and coming back from what looked like death.

GG’s previous winners:
2016: Cub Swanson vs Doo Ho Choi
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: Francis Ngannou
I’m not sure yet whether Ngannou is the real deal or the product of a weak heavyweight class. But there is no denying he’s had a hell of a run this year book-ending it with huge KOs over two former heavyweight champions in Overeem and Arlovski. Nobody in UFC made a bigger impact in 2017 and his breakthrough has come at a time when the division desperately needs new stars.

Duan’s previous winners:
2016: Stipe Miocic
2015: Holly Holm
2014: Conor McGregor

Jim: Rose Namajunas
Rose has always been a game fighter, but always seemed to be lacking something special. After less than stellar performances in 2016, she came into 2017 whipping ass and ultimately coming in as a huge underdog to defeat champion Joanna Jerdzejczyk and walk away with the title. Whether or not she can defend the title in her rematch with Joanna remains to be seen, but she certainly made a name for herself in 2017.

Jim’s previous winners:
2016: Cody Garbrandt
2015: Holly Holm

GG: Robert Whittaker
It’s been great to see Robert’s rise to the top. We got to see him early on with is run in The Ultimate Fighter and even through some tough losses, he become a contender right before our eyes. First as the interim champ, and now as the undisputed champ, he’s a scary guy to fight at middleweight. He very well could’ve won my fighter of the year. But this fits just as well.

GG’s previous winners:
2016: Amanda Nunes
2015: Holly Holm
2014: TJ Dillashaw

Who’s Next

Duan: Darren Till
Till is unbeaten in 2017 and the way he wiped the floor with Cerrone in September suggested a fighter ready for greater things. With the majority of the welterweight elite now in their career twilight, it’s time for some new names to emerge and Till may be the guy best positioned to take over.

Duan’s previous winners:
2016: Khabib Nurmagomedov
2015: Joe Duffy
2014: Kyoji Horiguchi
2013: Vitaly Minakov
2012: Gunnar Nelson
2011: Nick Diaz
2010: Eddie Alvarez

Jim: Justin Gaethje
Had Cynthia Calvillo looked more impressive in her fight against Carla Esparza, she may have gotten the nod, but despite his loss to Eddie Alvarez I am predicting 2018 will be a strong year for Justin Gaethje. After coming into the UFC, he has 2 of the top 5 fights in 2017 and had a great showing in his loss to Alvarez. If he stays healthy in 2018, I predict he puts himself into title contender status toward the end of the year.

Jim’s previous winners:
2016: Kyoji Horiguchi
2015: Robert Whittaker
2012: Bellator
2011: Rory MacDonald

GG: Montana De La Rosa
I have no idea of Montana De La Rosa is going to be good or not. I was one of the few who watched the TUF season for the women’s 125 pound champion. The season wasn’t all that interesting, but Montana stood out. She’s pretty, has exciting fights, is married to a fighter, and has a young daughter. She has a great story. If she has the goods, I think she’s highly marketable for the UFC.

GG’s previous winners:
2016: Jacare Souza
2015: Tony Ferguson
2014: Conor McGregor
2013: Khabib Nurmagomedov
2012: Ronda Rousey
2011: Nate Diaz
2010: Jon Jones

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