MMATORCH YEAR END AWARDS: Fighter of the Year

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Nov 3, 2018; New York, NY, USA; Daniel Cormier (red gloves) celebrates beating Derrick Lewis (blue gloves) during UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the latest of many MMATorch Awards for 2018. MMATorch staff have voted in a wide array of categories, with the top vote-getters receiving the awards. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments or Tweet us @MMATorch. Be sure to check out our other awards thus far.

Fighter of the Year

Fighter of the Year should go to an MMA fighter who had the highest level of in-cage success regardless of business considerations. This year’s award goes to someone who cemented his status as one of the greatest ever but also endeared himself to fans in the process.

Winner: Daniel Cormier

After losing to Jon Jones for the second time in the summer of 2017, things weren’t looking good for Cormier, who was going to have a tough time getting out from Jones’ shadow as a light heavyweight. Jones, of course, was suspended through a USADA violation and stripped of the title, sending it back Cormier’s way. Cormier opened the year with a win over rising star Volkan Oezdemir. On that same card, Stipe Miocic defended his heavyweight championship over Francis Ngannou, setting the stage for a Cormier-Miocic showdown at heavyweight. That fight happened at UFC 223 in July, and Cormier shocked many fans when he finished that fight in the first round becoming UFC’s second simultaneous two-division champion. Cormier then took a short notice fight with Derrick Lewis and became the first person to defend two different UFC championships. It was quite an accomplishment for Cormier and he did it all inside 2018, making him MMATorch’s Fighter of the Year.

Honorable Mention

Khabib Nurmagomedov was the only other fighter to receive any first-place votes. With wins over Al Iaquinta and Conor McGregor, Nurmagomedov made a strong case, but not enough to upset Cormier for the award.

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