These Fighters Left Their Fingerprints All Over 2022.
By Thomas Gerbasi, on Twitter: @TGerbasi • Dec. 24, 2022
The highly unofficial awards season concludes with the best fighters of 2022...
More 2022 UFC.com Awards:The Newcomers|The Upsets|The Submissions|The Knockouts| The Fights
1 - Alexander Volkanovski
Alexander Volkanovski of Australia celebrates his win in the UFC featherweight championship fight during the UFC 276 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 02, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski answered his doubters in late 2021 with a Fight of the Night win over Brian Ortega. In 2022, he obliterated any that were left with a one-sided stoppage of Chan Sung Jung and an equally dominant decision victory over Max Holloway in their third fight. So what does Alexander “The Great” want to do for an encore? Fight Islam Makhachev for the lightweight crown in February. That’s why he’s the pound-for-pound king and 2022’s Fighter of the Year.
RELATED: Volkanovski Discusses Upcoming UFC 284 Title Bout With Islam Makhachev
2 - Alex Pereira
Alex Pereira of Brazil punches Israel Adesanya of Nigeria in the UFC middleweight championship bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
The hype on Alex Pereira began long before he stepped into the Octagon for the first time in 2021, but it built and built and built in 2022 thanks to wins over Bruno Silva and Sean Strickland, and then he went and stopped the reign of former kickboxing rival Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 281 in November. That’s quite a year, Mr. Pereira.
3 - Islam Makhachev
Islam Makhachev of Russia celebrates after his victory over Charles Oliveira of Brazil in their UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
The quick finish of short-notice opponent Bobby Green was expected, but when Islam Makhachev did the same thing to Charles Oliveira in October to win the 155-pound crown, it may have kicked off a new era in the lightweight division, as the Dagestani mauler has been looking unstoppable as of late. More impressively, he chose featherweight boss Alexander Volkanovski as his first title defense. That’s the mark of a champion.
4 - Zhang Weili
Zhang Weili of China reacts after defeating Carla Esparza in the UFC strawweight championship bout during the UFC 281 event at Madison Square Garden on November 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC)
The exploits of the first three fighters on this list may have overshadowed the 2022 campaign of Zhang Weili, and that’s unfortunate, because as good as she looked on the way to her first strawweight title in 2019, she looked even better in regaining the title, as she turned one of the greatest fights of all-time with Joanna Jedrzejczyk into a rout in their June rematch, and then dominated Carla Esparza before submitting her in the second round in November. This is a new fighter, and a scary one.
5 - Leon Edwards
Leon Edwards of Jamaica reacts after defeating Kamaru Usman of Nigeria in the UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 278 event at Vivint Arena on August 20, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
MMA is a game of inches. If Leon Edwards was a couple inches to the left or right with his kick to the head of Kamaru Usman with less than a minute to go in their August fight for the welterweight title, he wouldn’t be here on this list. But “Rocky” was right on target, and in the rematch of his life, Edwards came up big and seized the moment, dethroning one of the most dominant champions to ever wear UFC gold. And now we call Edwards champion.
6 - Marlon Vera
Marlon Vera of Ecuador reacts after his knockout victory over Dominick Cruz in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Pechanga Arena on August 13, 2022 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
It’s almost hard to believe that Marlon Vera has been on the UFC roster since 2014, you know, the year recent Octagon debutant Raul Rosas Jr. was 10 years old, but it’s true. And at 30, with a quartet of wins over Davey Grant, Frankie Edgar, Rob Font and Dominick Cruz in his last four fights, the latter two taking place in 2022, “Chito” may very well be in his prime and ready to take aim at the bantamweight belt in 2023.
7 - Aljamain Sterling
Aljamain Sterling reacts after his victory over TJ Dillashaw in their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
No one took more abuse in the court of public opinion for being the victim of a foul than Aljamain Sterling did after his first fight with Petr Yan in 2021. Then injuries kept him out for a year, but in 2022, he silenced the critics with a second win over Yan in defense of his UFC bantamweight title in April and a second-round stoppage of TJ Dillashaw six months later, proving that the true champion at 135 pounds is truly the “Funk Master.”
8 - Jamahal Hill
Jamahal Hill prepares to fight Thiago Santos of Brazil in a light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 06, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
A 2021 loss to Paul Craig was only a momentary stumble on Jamahal Hill’s march to a fight with Glover Teixeira for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title next month, but take that away, and Hill is 5-0 with 1 NC in the Octagon, which proves that he’s not just a rising star, but perhaps the heir apparent to the throne, especially after three 2022 knockouts of Jimmy Crute, Johnny Walker and Thiago Santos. Yeah, “Sweet Dreams” is for real.
9 - Jiri Prochazka
Jiri Prochazka of Czech Republic prepares to fight Glover Teixeira of Brazil in the UFC light heavyweight championship fight during the UFC 275 event at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 12, 2022 in Singapore. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
To make it on this list with just one fight, it had better be a special one, and like Leon Edwards, Jiri Prochazka made the most of his single 2022 appearance, as he submitted Glover Teixeira for the UFC light heavyweight title in one of the greatest title fights in the promotion’s history. Unfortunately, a rematch with Teixeira in December was scrapped due to a shoulder injury, one that prompted the Czech Republic native to vacate his crown. But when he comes back, expect to see him right back at the top and doing whatever is necessary to regain title title.
10 - Roman Dolidze
Roman Dolidze of Georgia reacts after his TKO victory over Jack Hermansson of Sweden in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Amway Center on December 03, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
By the end of 2021, Roman Dolidze was clearly a talent to watch in the middleweight division, but the Georgia native wasn’t must-see TV as he relied on a smothering grappling attack to win his fights. Fast forward a year and Dolidze has knocked out Kyle Daukaus, Phil Hawes and Jack Hermansson, and if you’re missing one of his fights, you’re missing out. Don’t make that mistake in 2023.
Voters – Thomas Gerbasi, Christoph Goessing, Maddyn Johnstone-Thomas, Cory Kamerschak, E. Spencer Kyte, Steve Latrell, Zac Pacleb, McKenzie Pavacich, Gavin Porter
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Who won Fighter of the Year 2022? ›
Best of Boxing in 2022: Dmitry Bivol earns Fighter of the Year for wins over Canelo Alvarez, Gilberto Ramirez - CBSSports.com.Who won fighter of the year? ›
Men's Fighter of the Year: Alex Pereira
-- there are many different ways one can view this.
Colby Ray Covington (born February 22, 1988) is an American professional mixed martial artist who currently competes in the welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is a former Interim UFC Welterweight Champion. As of August 23, 2022, he is #2 in the UFC welterweight rankings.Who is No 1 UFC champion? ›
Donald Cerrone holds the most wins in UFC history with 23.Who is the best UFC fighter 2022? ›
- 1 - Alexander Volkanovski. ...
- 2 - Alex Pereira. ...
- 3 - Islam Makhachev. ...
- 4 - Zhang Weili. ...
- 5 - Leon Edwards. ...
- 6 - Marlon Vera. ...
- 7 - Aljamain Sterling. ...
- 8 - Jamahal Hill.
|3||Leon Edwards||20–3 (1 NC)|
KO of the Year: Chandler vs.
Chandler hit Ferguson with the kick that was heard around the MMA world in May.
"Thank you to the Boxing Writers Association of America for voting me Fighter of the Decade," Mayweather said in a statement. "I am honored to be recognized by the media who covered my career throughout its many decades.What rank is Usman? ›
Who has the highest takedown average in UFC? ›
UFC: most takedowns landed by fighters worldwide as of March 2022. Georges St-Pierre is leading the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in most takedowns landed as of March 2022, followed by Gleison Tibau with 84 takedowns and Demetrious Johnson with 74 takedowns during UFC fights.What rank is Masvidal? ›
UFC: leading Pay-Per-View events as of August 2022, by buys. The biggest UFC event in terms of pay-per-view buys took place at UFC 229 in 2018. The UFC Lightweight Championship bout between current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former champion Conor McGregor was bought by 2.4 million PPV viewers.Who is the world best UFC player? ›
The Canadian is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts history and is ranked here as the greatest of all time. St-Pierre was a two-division champion in the UFC, having won titles in the welterweight and middleweight divisions.
One of the most iconic venues in the history of sport became simply a small detail in the storyline of UFC 205, when Conor McGregor became the first fighter to hold UFC titles in multiple divisions simultaneously after defeating Eddie Alvarez, accessorizing his featherweight belt with a lightweight one as well.Who is the least hit fighter in UFC? ›
Makhachev absorbs 0.79 significant strikes per minute in UFC competition, the best rate in company history.Who has the most UFC belts? ›
1. Jon Jones: 14 UFC title wins.Who are the top 3 UFC fighters of all time? ›
- Georges St-Pierre. Canadian Georges “Rush” St-Pierre is widely considered to be one of the greatest fighters in mixed martial arts history. ...
- Khabib Nurmagomedov. Russian superstar Khabib Nurmagomedov is frequently called the best-ever lightweight UFC fighter of all time, and it is easy to see why. ...
- Jon Jones.
- 5 Of The Most Dominant Champions In UFC History. Jan 12, 2022. ...
- Anderson Silva. Anderson Silva holds the longest title reign in the UFC. ...
- Randy Couture. Sometimes dominance isn't about holding one title for the longest – it's about winning two titles in two different divisions. ...
- Khabib Nurmagomedov. ...
- Jon Jones. ...
- Amanda Nunes.
Who has the best Jiu Jitsu in UFC? ›
- 16 Best BJJ Fighters in UFC History.
- Royce Gracie. Royce Gracie is the one who paved the way for BJJ's inclusion in MMA. ...
- Rickson Gracie. Rickson Gracie is considered a mythical legend amongst BJJ grapplers in the UFC. ...
- Nate Diaz. ...
- George St-Pierre. ...
- Demian Maia. ...
- BJ Penn. ...
- Rodolfo Vieira.
The Most Feared Fighter in Boxing History: Charles 'Sonny' Liston remembered - The Ring.What is the salary of a UFC fighter? ›
The fighters usually sign a contract for a certain amount of fights for a fixed amount of money each time they step inside the Octagon. The three tiers are low, medium, and high, with the lowest earning between $10,000 and $30,000 and the highest Tier ranking between $500,000 and $3,000,000 per fight.Who is the best MMA fighter ever? ›
- Anderson Silva (34-11, 1 No Contest) UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship. ...
- Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) UFC - Ultimate Fighting Championship. ...
- Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 No Contest) ...
- Stipe Miocic (20-4) ...
- Fedor Emelianenko (40-6, 1 No Contest) ...
- Amanda Nunes (21-5) ...
- Jose Aldo (31-7)
The fastest knockout in UFC history occurred at UFC 239 in the Welterweight division contest between Jorge Masvidal and Ben Askren. Masvidal was able to finish Askren in just 5 seconds, with an unbelievable flying knee that took out the wrestling specialist in an unbelievably quick fashion.Who is the best striker in MMA right now? ›
- Israel "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya. ...
- Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson. ...
- Max "Blessed" Holloway. ...
- "Sugar" Sean O'Malley. ...
- Valentina "Bullet" Shevchenko.
Rounds with 10-7 in the UFC are relatively rare because they are reserved for rounds in which one fighter dominates the other to a significant degree.Who is the greatest fighter in America? ›
Joe Louis, also known as the “Brown Bomber,” competed between 1934 and 1951. He is considered one of the greatest and most influential American fighters ever.Who is the diamond fighter? ›
|Fighter||Sung Bin Jo|
|Event||Professional Fighters League - PFL 1: 2021 Regular Season Apr / 23 / 2021|
|Method/Referee||Decision (Unanimous) Vitor Ribeiro VIEW PLAY-BY-PLAY|
Muhammad Ali has been named Fighter of the Year more times than any other boxer in history. He was disqualified from the honor from 1964 to 1966 due to controversy over his religious and political beliefs, but it was retroactively awarded in December 2016.
Who is the top 5 UFC fighters? ›
- Georges "Rush" St. Pierre. 26-2-0. Recent Fights: ...
- Jon "Bones" Jones. 26-1-0, 1 NC. ...
- Anderson "The Spider" Silva. 34-11-0, 1 NC. ...
- Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson. 24-4-1. ...
- Khabib "The Eagle" Nurmagomedov. 29-0-0. ...
- José Aldo "Junior" 31-8-0. ...
- "The Last Emperor" Fedor Emelianenko. 40-7-0, 1 NC. ...
- Daniel "DC" Cormier. 22-3-0, 1 NC.
|Division||Featherweight (2008–2015) Lightweight (2008–2012, 2016–2018, 2021–present) Welterweight (2016, 2020)|
|Reach||188 cm (74 in)|
- Todd Duffee holds the record with 7 seconds.
- All finishes were 15 seconds and below.
Francis Ngannou is the world's hardest hitter who slept rough, was inspired by Mike Tyson and is now UFC heavyweight champion trying to inspire a new generation.What is the bloodiest MMA fight of all time? ›
- Penn vs. Stevenson. UFC 80. BJ Penn wins via Submission, Rear Naked Choke Jan 2008.
- Stojnić vs. Struve. UFC 99. ...
- Arona vs. Sakuraba. Pride Critical Countdown 2005. ...
- Sobral vs. Heath. UFC 74. ...
- Sherk vs. Florian. UFC 64. ...
- Velasquez vs. Silva. UFC 146. ...
- Lombard vs. Hess. Bellator 12. ...
- Koscheck vs. Lytle. UFC 86.
2022 Fighter of the Year: Dmitry Bivol.Who is the top boxer 2022? ›
Oleksandr Usyk has ended 2022 as the number one pound-for-pound boxer on the planet. The Ukrainian heavyweight has come top of the Ring Magazine's rankings, in a list that features very few surprises.Who is the greatest boxer in 2022? ›
Boxing Pound-for-Pound Rankings: Naoya Inoue holds on to top spot to close 2022 with historic win. Despite how crowded the top of boxing's pound-for-pound rankings have been in recent years, with everyone from Canelo Alvarez and Vasiliy Lomachenko to Errol Spence Jr.Who is the greatest boxer in the world 2022? ›
- 8 – Roberto Duran (103-16)
- 7 – Jack Dempsey (53-6-8)
- 6 – Manny Pacquiao (62-8-2)
- 5 – Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0)
- 4 – Rocky Marciano (49-0)
- 3 – Sugar Ray Robinson (174-19-6)
- 2 – Joe Louis (66-3)
- 1 – Muhammad Ali (56-5)