UFC Middleweight Champion, Adesanya Wins Fighter Of The Year Award
Israel Adesanya was named Fighter of the Year for 2020 at the World MMA Awards on Sunday night.
The UFC Middleweight champion, who now has a 20-0 career record, managed to defend his title on two occasions in the calendar year, beating both Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa in the Octagon.
As well as picking up the Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Fighter of the Year Award, the Nigerian-New Zealand fighter also picked up the prize for International Fighter of the Year.
It is the second year in a row that Adesanya has won the award after he won and unified the UFC Middleweight Championship in 2019.
The 31-year-old also picked up the Breakthrough Fighter of the Year prize in 2018 as Adesanya’s stock continues to rise in the MMA community.
The Nigerian-New Zealand fighter’s year began with a unanimous decision victory over Romero in Las Vegas’ 248 event – his first fight since unifying the Middleweight Championship in October last year.
Adesanya then had to wait until September for his next fight but dispatched Brazilian fighter Costa with a second-round knockout following a series of punches – a display which won him Performance of the Night.
The next calendar year could see Adesanya come up against one of his fiercest rivals in Jon Jones, with UFC president Dana White claiming that ‘Bones’ is ready to come out of retirement to take on the Middleweight champion.
Speaking about a potential Adesanya vs Jones fight in 2021, White said: “That’s the fight I would love to see.”
“Somebody asked me , “If you could make one fight in 2021, what would it be?” That’s the fight. That’s my pick.’
American fighter Jorge Masvidal was the only other multiple award winner in Sunday’s virtual awards ceremony, with the 36-year-old collecting the Breakthrough Fighter of the Year Award and the Knockout of the Year for his UFC 239 win over Ben Askren.
Masvidal knocked out fellow countryman Askren in just five seconds in July 2019 though the former lost to Karamu Usman on a unanimous points call earlier this year.
Justin Gaethje’s coach Trevor Wittman was presented with the Shawn Tompkins Coach of the Year honour while Dustin Poirier’s strength and conditioning aid Phil Daru won Trainer of the Year.