These are the final seven end of year awards from Fighter of the Year to Division of the Year. So, enjoy these awards and discuss if you think we got it wrong in the comments.
Male Fighter of the Year: Robbie Lawler
There were so many people clamoring for this award, but the true winner of the year is Robbie Lawler. He came back to the UFC with little fan fare after an abysmal showing in Strikeforce, and everyone thought he was done. In three short fights, he moved up to the number two Welterweight in the world from not even being in the top 50. Plus, he will be fighting for the title next year, so if that is not fighter of the year then I don’t know who is.
Female Fighter of the Year: Ronda Rousey
It is hard to deny Rousey this spot. She came into the UFC and won her title, filmed two big budget movies, and defended her title after a season of TUF against a bitter rival. No one beats that year in MMA, male or female.
Comeback Fighter of the Year: Urijah Faber
Faber fought once in 2012 in a losing effort to capture the interim title from Renan Barao. It was his fifth straight title fight loss and everyone thought they had seen the last of Faber in those bouts. Low and behold, four fights in ten months later and Faber is now in a title fight again after Cruz remained injured. He sits atop the heap having cleared out the division of challengers, and winning the belt from Barao will prove all that much more that he is back to top form.
Breakout Fighter of the Year: Travis Browne
Browne was a good fighter before 2013, but a knockout to Antonio Silva, a pitiful fight against Rob Broughton, and draw with Cheick Kongo were making him seem a hot and cold fighter. 2013 changed all of that when he defied expectations by defying expectations against Josh Barnett, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Alistair Overeem. Browne let his fist do the talking silencing all of his critics and opponents in under five minutes.
Gym of the Year: American Top Team
American Top Team may not have any fighters with titles, but 2013 paved the way for that to change in 2014. ATT revitalized Robbie Lawler’s career, helps train Light-Heavyweight contender Glover Teixeira, made Mark Hunt viable at Heavyweight, upped Dustin Poirier’s game, helped Tyron Woodley move into a fight with Carlos Condit, gave Daniel Straus the help to put the Bellator Featherweight strap around his waist, gave light to a new Flyweight prospect in Justin Scoggins, and gave birth to a female Strawweight monster in Tecia Torres. Name another camp that did all of that in 2013.
Story of the Year: GSP Steps Away
Many things happened in MMA over the course of 2013, but the biggest thing would have to be GSP stepping away from the sport and relinquishing his title. He came back from an ACL injury and closed the door in fights against Nick Diaz and Johny Hendricks, but personal problems and the limelight became too much. Now, the MMA community holds their breath to see if or when the longtime Welterweight champion will return.
Division of the Year: Female Strawweight
The division that has the most heat coming into the new year is the women’s Strawweight division. They are getting their own season of TUF, a new title holder at the end of the season, and had the UFC pick up more contracts in one swoop than even when they brought in the women’s Bantamweight division. 11 contracts alone were bought off of Invicta FC, and five more women will earn a spot in the TUF house this year to vie for the title. Can’t have more movement than that in one division now can you?