As a recap, most “Fighter of the Year” awards on other sites are really “Breakout Fighter of the Year” awards in that fighters who win, were usually not top fighters in the beginning of the year, but became so by the end of the year.
A fighter like this can and has won our FotY awards, but our award is more about maintaining a high standing during the award year by performing well a sufficient number of times and against a sufficient quality of opponents. It is more comparable to a season MVP in major team sports, not a playoffs/surprise MVP.
Winner: Daniel Cormier
I like easy decisions. Cormier picked up three wins, all in title fights and is now a double champion. What more can you ask for?
Runner-Up: Khabib Nurmagomedov
After Cormier, it gets fuzzy.. you’re basically looking for fighters with two or more wins in major title fights and Nurmagomedov fits the bill.
3rd Place: Dustin Poirier
Wins over two highly ranked fighters in a calendar year is a larger rarity than you might think and I hate considering fighters for such a distinction if they only fought once. Poirier had about as good of year as you can, without challenging for or defending a major title.