WMMA Rankings Year-End Awards: Champion of the Year

As an eventful 2018 comes to a close, the WMMA Rankings panel reflects on some of this year’s top moments.

Panelists wrote in on several categories to highlight outstanding moments and achievements throughout the year.

CHAMPION OF THE YEAR

JILL: It was difficult to whittle down the contenders in this category. Every Invicta FC champion deserves a nod, for instance, and who can forget Ilima-Lei MacFarlane’s recent triumph in her native Hawaii? The bottom line is that One Championship’s atomweight queen Angela Lee has spent 2018 overcoming challenges in and out of the cage. She rallied after surviving a serious automobile accident, and defended her title in May. Lee is likely to demonstrate similar fortitude as she recovers from a back injury in anticipation of a superfight.


JAY: Champion of the Year hands down: Rose Namajunas.  After losing the Ultimate Fighter in 2014 she fought her way back up the ranks and earned a title shot against the then undefeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The epitome of David vs Goliath took place late 2017 at UFC 217.  She knocked out Joanna in the first round.  Joanna claimed weight cuts had to do with the quick knockout and Rose found herself defending her belt five months later at UFC 223.  This time the match went all 5 rounds and Rose had her hand raised once again.    


NICK: 2018 was a great really good year for MMA as the sport continues to evolve. New champions were crowned, current champions defended, and some belts were even vacated! With that being said, my pick for Champ of the Year is Ilima-Lei Macfarlane. Macfarlane finished two worthy challengers (both via third round submissions; including one of my favorites in Letourneau), played a huge role in bringing mainstream MMA to Hawaii, and showed that every time out she is improving. Ilima-Lei is a great representative for the sport, a gracious champion, and a legitimate competitor.


*Note: Entries were submitted prior to UFC 232 on 12/29/2018.

Who is your pick for Champ of the Year?

Here is to a wonderful New Year!

NICK on Twitter
NICK

8 comments

  1. it was a great year. Yes, many casual fans left when ronda did, but that just showed who the true MMA fans are. i’m a fan of all chicks who fight MMA.

  2. My goodness. I’m not a huge Nunes fan, but I thought she was the obvious choice, being the first dual division champion in WMMA history and taking out the heavily favored Cyborg in the process. I’m a little shocked that she was not even mentioned.

    1. The entries were submitted prior to UFC 232 on 12/29! I know if I were to submit mine again after the event, I would definitely have to pick her! 🙂

    2. I think the Cyborg odds were only like -170, JR , believe it or not. She wasn’t as feared after the Holly fight and after we saw Evinger and Kunitskaya able to take her down during fights, which was like UNHEARD OF before. She is totally not the same when she is drug-free !

      1. While most of the odds I saw were in the -200 to -300 range, you’re right, I should have left out the “heavily” part.

  3. Lol Namajunas fought once and then left for good. Angela Lee, Virna Jandirova, and MacFarlane were much better and active than Traumajunas.

    1. While Angela was far more active, especially in 2017, her opponents were mostly true atomweights while she found it increasingly difficult even to make the 10 pound allowance permitted by ONE. Hence her move up to “strawweight.” I doubt if we’ll see her defend her AW title again.

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