ROUNDTABLE: What was biggest MMA surprise of 2017?

MMATorch Staff

2017 was an unpredictable year in MMA. What was the biggest surprise?

(*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

Justin Gaethje is the positive surprise for me. I’d already seen him in World Series of Fighting several times, but it was great to see him in the UFC cage and fighting like a lunatic.

The negative surprise for me is how poorly the UFC botched Georges St. Pierre’s return. To allow a guy who had never fought at middleweight to come in and fight for the title at middleweight, win and then immediately vacate the title, knowing all along that he would vacate the title if he won, is stunning. That level of incompetence is astonishing. To prostitute a championship like that shows a complete disregard for the sport.


Rose Namajunas’ upset victory to many was one of the biggest surprises this year, if not ever in the UFC. I did the old jump off the couch and pace around my living room routine when she began taking apart big favorite Joanna Jędrzejczyk. It’s not just the win but how she won. She was dominant and lethal in her destruction of Jędrzejczyk. It would not surprise me however, if she repeated her performance in a rematch.

DAVE KOULA, MMATorch Contributor

Raphael dos Anjos reemergence as a welterweight. RDA didn’t get the respect he deserved in his run in a very crowded lightweight division, but with wins over the very tough Tarec Saffiedine and Neil Magny and a master class over legendary brawler Robbie Lawler; the fight world is unanimous that he is the clear-cut number one contender to face champion Tyron Woodley. I’m done underestimating him – next year is going to be very interesting for the welterweight division.

SEAN COVINGTON, MMATorch Contributor

The biggest surprise has to be the entire UFC 217 card, three title changes all in a row is insane and will never happen again in MMA or any other sport; not even WWE will do that and they could do it on purpose.

COLE HENRY, MMATorch Contributor

Francis Ngannou becoming a force; and I mean surprise in the best way possible. He is the most exciting prospect in quite some time in the heavyweight division.

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

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