ROUNDTABLE: Who was the Fighter of the Year in 2017?

MMATorch Staff

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 14: Demetrious Johnson reacts to his victory over Joseph Benavidez in their flyweight championship bout during the UFC on FOX event at Sleep Train Arena on December 14, 2013 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

With 2017 nearly behind us, it is time to look back at notable names in MMA. Who was the Fighter of the Year in 2017?

(*This list was compiled before UFC 219.)

(**To hear an audio review of 2017 in MMA, check out the Dec. 25, edition of “MMA Talk for Pro Wrestling Fans.”)

FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Columnist

UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson or UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway would be my choices. If I could only go with one, I would go with Johnson because of the history he made with regards to the most consecutive title defenses in a row. He was outstanding this year. Johnson is the best fighter in the world and Holloway is not that far behind him. You’d probably throw another couple of guys in there as well, but Johnson is the man right now, and has been for a while. To me, it’s an easy choice.


It would have been a lot easier to come up with a top five list, than picking one guy or gal. I believe Holloway’s performances and dismantling of a hall of famer put him at the top of my list. I picked against him in the fight against Aldo and was blown away by what he was able to do in that fight. He is a special talent that sits atop the division looking way down at who’s coming up to challenge him. I’m looking very forward to watching his dynamic skills in the new year.

DAVE KOULA, MMATorch Contributor

Demetrious Johnson. He didn’t fight the competition that Robert Whittaker did, but he did set the title defense record in a completely flawless victory over tough Ray Borg. With that in mind, I’ll boldly proclaim the best finish in the history of the sport gives him the top spot.  He also spent a lot of time in the headlines over the controversy around declining the T.J. Dillashaw fight (which if you haven’t read his open letter explaining everything that lead to that, I suggest you do), multiple public spats with Dana White, and the never-ending debate about how he “isn’t a draw.” I actually think the public visibility helps his case in being named fighter of the year.  I believe D.J. is ready to be not just a star, but the poster boy of the sport as long as the UFC will promote him; which with his body of work at this point should be something really easy to do.

SEAN COVINGTON, MMATorch Contributor

Georges St-Pierre, because he was the cherry on top of the best UFC pay-per-view ever. It looked rough for him a couple times early on but he battled back and won in incredible fashion like the incredible champion he is. Always good to see someone redesign, rebuild and reclaim.

COLE HENRY, MMATorch Contributor

Tough to answer. I know he hasn’t actually competed in MMA, but it still feels like the right answer in Conor McGregor. Who matters more?

NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS ROUNDTABLE: What was the Fight of the Year in 2017?

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