Handing out awards to combatants of a sport that has as many variables as MMA is always a difficult task. What aspect of a particular KO, for example, constitutes KO of the Year? Is it the technical execution? The gravity of the contest at hand? Or is it a KO at the last possible moment under the worst of circumstances? Ideally, you’d like all of these attributes wrapped up neatly into one amazing fight, but that is a rare occurrence. As in previous years, the FIGHT! staff, along with friends and contributors, weighed the different opinions and debated the awards for various categories. All the categories—but one, that is.
With four fights, including his first title fight and two subsequent defenses, Jon “Bones” Jones is our undisputed 2011 Fighter of the Year. In a single 12 month span, the lanky, soft spoken, up-and-comer has catapulted himself from number one contender status, to taking the belt, to defending it twice, all while beating three former champions along the way. He has done so in ruthlessly efficient fashion, out-wrestling wrestlers, striking at will, and dominating in all four of his contests in the past year. Love him or hate him, there is no fighter more deserving of the title for 2011.
For the rest of the 2011 awards, check out page 52, and make sure to let us know if you agree or disagree. More likely than not, there will be someone here that agrees with you!