Over the span of two years, UFC has grown even more. These fighters are well-versed in a lot of disciplines—hence, the term ‘mixed martial arts’. You should be armed in a versatile mix of martial arts disciplines when you face them as well, or you risk setting yourself up for failure.
Here are the best fighters from 2016 and 2017. They have worked their asses off and it’s paid off. There are some familiar names in this list—former and current champions as well as top challengers for the throne.
Michael Bisping (2016)
Bisping experienced a great start to his year on account of beating Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva. As if that year wasn’t enough, he took the next fight—a battle against former conqueror Luke Rockhold—on short notice. Notice that we said ‘former’ because Bisping won the fight handily in the first round. He went on to defeat another former conqueror in Dan Henderson.
Conor McGregor (2016)
This fighter was certainly busy during this year. For a tune-up, he fought Nate Diaz as a replacement for his botched fight with Rafael Dos Anjos. He split the fight with Diaz; he came up with a loss the first time but avenged his defeat handily in their second meeting. He followed this up by defeating lightweight Eddie Alvarez en route to becoming the first multi-titled UFC fighter.
Dominick Cruz (2016)
The list of his comeback was against well-established foes. TJ Dillashaw, Urijah Faber, and Cody Garbrandt weren’t pushovers. However, Dillashaw relinquished the title Cruz once lost; Faber lost to him through unanimous decision; although he lost to Garbrandt, his year had already been good.
Cris Cyborg (2017)
Cyborg, one of the names long bandied about in the fight game, made her name soar higher in 2017. She faced off against Holly Holm and Tonya Evinger in rapid succession; she conquered Evinger handily, but wouldn’t stop there. She also dropped Holly Holm to successfully defend her title and win the title in the process.
Demetrious Johnson (2017)
The fighter also known as the ‘Mighty Mouse’ made waves during 2017. Already known as one of the best, he only added the names of Ray Borg and Wilson Reis to a long list of his victims on the way to the top. This ensures his place among the all-time list for best and successful defenses in the UFC.
Rafael Dos Anjos (2017)
Dos Anjos moved to welterweight to avenge his losses to Tony Ferguson and Eddie Alvarez. However, he managed to rewrite his career with big wins over Neil Magny and Robbie Lawler. These victories may have placed him in line to challenge for the title belt.
These fighters, through grit and determination, managed to get their titles. It only goes to show what focus and concentration will bring you, as long as you put enough time in it.