The 2018 SevereMMA Irish and International Awards

After another jam-packed year of MMA it’s time to pick the performers that separated themselves from the pack over the last 365 days. From the UFC to Bellator, Cage Warriors, KSW, Invicta and more, we’ve never had more MMA to keep on top of than in 2018.

This year’s awards were voted on by a four-man panel of SevereMMA owner Graeme McDonnell, UFC veteran/former Cage Warriors champion Cathal Pendred, SevereMMA and Sherdog’s Sean Sheehan and the man who dedicates himself to seeing every fight on every promotion in the world, MMA twitter legend Grabaka Hitman. Special shout-out to Caposa for his huge help with the nomination process.

Here are our winners:

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Fighter of the Year: Daniel Cormier
 
Two belts, three finishes and a new level reached. Daniel Cormier has the best sporting year of his life at 39 and is the unanimous winner of our fighter of the year. 
 
 
Fight of the Year: Yair Rodriguez vs. Chan Sung Jung at UFC Fight Night 139
 
There were plenty of contenders here but Yair Rodriguez and Chan Sung Jung’s war over (almost) five rounds was an amazing display of skill and heart. 
 
Submission of the Year: Zabit Magomedsharipov’s Suloev Stretch on Brandon Davis at UFC 228
 
One of two on the same night, Magomedsharipov’s Suloev stretch still remained special and is a worthy winner here. 
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Knockout of the Year: Yair Rodriguez against Chan Sung Jung at UFC Fight Night 139
 
You know a bout is special when it wins fight and KO of the year. Yair Rodriguez’s last second reverse, upward elbow was one of the most magnificent knockouts ever seen. 
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Female Fighter of the Year: Amanda Nunes
 
Beating the greatest female fighter of all time gave Amanda Nunes that mantle and also makes her the unanimous winner of our female fighter of the year .
 
Underdog of the Year: Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua
 
The former UFC light-heavyweight champion was written off by most people a long time ago but a win over highly touted prospect Tyson Pedro brought Shogun back from the brink of the end of his career at the top level. 
 
Emerging Worldwide Prospect Of The Year: Israel Adesanya
 
Entering the year having yet to debut in the UFC, Adesanya won four fights and vaulted himself from prospect to contender. 
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Irish Pro Fighter Of The Year: Norman Parke
 
With big wins in KSW and Brave, Norman Parke solidified his place as one of Ireland’s top fighters and secured his place as the best over the last twelve months.  
 
Irish Amateur Fighter Of The Year: Lee Hammond
 
Five wins, no losses and a gold medal in the world amateur championships make Lee Hammond the best amateur fighter in Ireland in 2018. 
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Irish Female Fighter Of The Year: Dee Begley
 
Four wins in five fights and a strong run through the amateur world championship makes Dee Begley ireland’s best female mixed martial artist in 2018.
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Emerging Irish Prospect Of The Year: Kiefer Crosbie
 
Two dominant wins, the second of which came in his Bellator debut, make Kiefer Crosbie the stand-out prospect in Ireland as he moved to 5-0 in his career. 
 
Coach of the Year: Javier Mendes
 
A phenomenal year for Daniel Cormier, Khabib Nurmagomedov and more made AKA head trainer our coach of the year. 
 
Upset of the Year: Henry Cejudo on Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227
 
Demetrious Johnson was the most dominant fighter the UFC had ever seen and Henry Cejudo’s defeat of the former flyweight champion was the biggest upset of the year. 
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Comeback Of The Year: Derrick Lewis on Alexander Volkov at UFC 228
 
Derrick Lewis looked to be on his way to a unanimous decision loss until he uncorked a huge knockout blow to earn himself a UFC heavyweight title opportunity.  
 
Worst Fight of the Year: Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell at Golden Boy MMA 1
 
Once the apex of MMA quality, Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, especially, are now a shadow of their former selves and put on a sad trilogy fight in Golden Boy’s MMA debut. 
 
Underperformer Of The Year: James Gallagher
 
After missing much of the year through injury highly touted prospect James Gallagher came back and was badly knocked out by previously unknown Ricky Bandejas. 
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Worst decision Of The Year: Darren Till over Stephen Thompson at UFC Fight Night 130
 
In a close fight over five rounds, most people had Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson beating Darren Till. But the judges in Till’s hometown of Liverpool did not. 
 
Non-UFC Fighter of the Year: Ryan Bader
 
As well as holding the Bellator light-heavyweight title, Ryan Bader has dominated the heavyweight tournament and in 2018 earned himself a shot at the vacant belt early next year. 
 
Event of the Year: UFC 229
 
Headlined by the most anticipated fight in UFC history between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor, UFC 229 also had the comeback of the year in Derrick Lewis vs. Alexander Volkov as well as a fight of the year contender between Anthonys Pettis and Ferguson. 
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Shocking Moment Of The Year: McGregor attacks the bus
 
Conor McGregor attacking the bus containing Khabib Nurmagomedov in Brooklyn at UFC 223 sent shockwaves throughout the world of MMA. 
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Commentator Of The Year: Paul Felder
 
A unanimous winner in this category, Paul Felder has become one of the very best at his craft in a very short time and had a great 2018 in the commentary booth.

 

Lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Co-host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Tuesday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma