Floyd Mayweather Jr. has won the ESPY’s” Best Fighter” award four times now (since it was introduced in 2007) and the renowned boxer has once again been nominated for the award in 2013.
So who are MMA’s hopefuls to win the accolade this year? None other than UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones and UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. Boxers Canelo Alvarez and Danny Garcia are the other two nominees.
Silva (33-4) scored a hugely important and impressive TKO win over Chael Sonnen last July at UFC 148, and then in October, he overwhelmed light-heavyweight Stephan Bonnar for the stoppage victory. Silva was fighting above his normal weight class for that bout, however, Bonnar hadn’t fought in nearly a year and was no longer considered a contender. Silva is of course scheduled to fight Chris Weidman at UFC 162 next Saturday.
Jones (18-1) worked his way to a unanimous decision win over Rashad Evans last April at UFC 145, who is a former champ, but the period for ESPY consideration apparently begins in June. In September, Jones submitted Vitor Belfort at UFC 152, but the veteran had moved up from middleweight to meet the light-heavyweight champion. Then this past April, Jones stormed through Sonnen, but the latter hadn’t fought at 205 pounds in years.
So, who would you go with in terms of the best MMA fighter based off their respective campaigns? It might be tough sledding for either Jones or Silva to pick up the award, which has never gone to a MMA competitor to date. Some of the previous nominees include Georges St. Pierre, “Rampage” Jackson and Randy Couture.
Having been nominated this year as well, Jones and Silva have both been contenders for the award now three times.