Well, what a year 2014 has been for the UFC. Plenty of memorable moments and plenty of forgettable moments too! But as MMA fans we wouldn’t have it any other way. Whether it’s a good moment, a bad moment, or a controversial moment, one thing is guaranteed; the MMA community will discuss it. The thing that sets MMA fans apart from other sports fans is that unlike all the mainstream sports, there’s no such thing as a casual MMA fan. You either love it or you hate it, and those that love it are the most passionate and knowledgeable sports fans getting around. Anyway, enough of that, let’s get on to my take of 2014 in the following categories.
- Male fighter of the year
- Female fighter of the year
- Fight of the year
- Comeback fighter of the year
- Newcomer of the year
- Happiest moment of the year
- Biggest disappointment of the year
- Biggest shock of the year
Male fighter of the year
For me there’s only one contender for this position. With 4 wins from 4 fights and another to kick the year off in 2015 at UFC 182, Cowboy Cerrone set the Lightweight division alight. Not only did he win 4 fights but 2 of those were against Jim Miller and Edson Barboza. He’s not only an extremely talented fighter but he’s also one of my favourites to watch. He fights to win and put on a show. When Cowboy is in the Octagon you know something is gonna happen. If he can beat Myles Jury at UFC 182 he’ll put himself in line for a shot at the belt. All on the back of a ridiculously good 2014
Female fighter of the year
Only one name stands out here; Ronda Rousey. She’s the champ, she’s still undefeated. Her win against Alexis Davis at UFC 175 in July was brutal and violent. All over in 16 seconds and most impressively, it wasn’t via armbar. Picking up her first TKO victory. Until someone beats Rousey she’ll forever win this category.
Fight of the year
I always struggle with this category. Every year there are so many great fights to pick from. With that being said I’m gonna run with the first bout between Johny Hendricks v Robbie Lawler. Their first encounter for the year from UFC 171, all the way back in March. A back and forth 5 round slugfest! Hendricks would eventually have his hand raised and successfully defend his belt. Both guys left the arena battered and bruised. I personally thought Lawler had won the fight. One thing that could not be debated though, this is one of the great fights in UFC history.
Comeback fighter of the year
Almost went with Mark Hunt here. However the answer for this question was Frankie Edgar. Frankie enterer 2014 with his career at the crossroads; when the clock ticked over 2014 Edgar had won just one of his last 4 fights. His first opponent for 2014 was BJ Penn at TUF 19 Finale in July. Edgar was expected to win this quite easily which he did. Next up was a fight with Cub Swanson. Swanson’s fight here with Edgar would guarantee him a title shot if he, as expected would win. Edgar however had his own plans. With just 4 seconds left of the scheduled 5 rounds, Edgar pulled out the submission win and in turn catapulted himself back in to title contention.
Newcomer of the year
I’m so excited by this bloke. Australia’s own Jake “The Celtic Kid” Matthews. Last year he thought his chance to make it into the UFC had slipped when he lost his first match on the TUF series. This loss here could have gone one of two ways. It could have shattered his confidence and ruined his chances of a UFC dream, or it could be a wake up call for him, would he now realise what it takes to make it in the big time? Thankfully at just 20 years of age he chose the latter. He went back to the gym, trained harder, improved his game and by the end of the year he’d had 2 UFC fights. 2 UFC wins via submission and also showing he had the stand up game to match. This kid is going to be a treat to watch in the lightweight division over the next few years. Don’t be surprised to one-day see him with UFC gold strapped to his waist.
Happiest moment of the year
So many highlights to pick form here. An action packed 2014 will see UFC embark on an even bigger 2015. That being said I’m going to go with a local flavour here, and say that the Labor Government winning the Victorian state election was a great moment for Aussie MMA fans. The newly elected government have promised to lift the ridiculous cage ban that has plagued MMA in Victoria for a few years now. Once the ban is lifted UFC can finally be showcased in Melbourne. They are already planning a huge event for November and it will be a massive moment for not only UFC but MMA in Victoria.
Biggest disappointment of the year
The announcement that WWE Superstar CM Punk has signed with the UFC! I’ll leave it at that
Biggest Shock Of The Year
I can some up this category with two simple letters. TJ.
Mr. Dillashaw put on a clinic back in May at UFC 173. No one, including myself gave Dillashaw any chance against Renan Barao. Barao was arguably one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. Riding an astonishing 32 fight win streak, this was meant to be a fairly easy title defense for Barao. However in came Dillashaw, who put on the best performance of his career and completely dismantled the Brazillian and eventually finishing him half way through the fifth and final round to become the new Bantamweight champ.
If you haven’t already, follow me on Twitter @BlueSpur86. Don’t be shy tell me what you think of my picks and don’t be scared to share your own.