The winners of FanSided MMA's 2021 Awards are listed below.

The winners of FanSided MMA’s 2021 Awards are listed below.

The winners of FanSided MMA’s 2021 Awards are listed below.

In the year 2021, MMA witnessed a lot. We saw rematches, comebacks in front of live crowds, numerous (and I mean numerous) shattered bones, new champions, and old champions return. To say the least, it was a memorable year.

The winners of FanSided MMA’s 2021 Awards are listed below.

It’s now time for the FanSided MMA team to unveil their honors for 2021. Starting on Monday, January 10, 2022, we voted as a team on 20 categories, which will be revealed every 30 minutes or so.


Keep an eye out for each winner, who will be announced first on our official Twitter account and then here in our winners’ list.


Here is the complete list of 2021 FanSided MMA Award winners.

Male Fighter of the Year is Kamaru Usman, according to FanSided MMA.

“In 2021, Usman took his game to the next level after defeating Jorge Masvidal by decision in his lone fight in 2020. At UFC 258 in January, he ruthlessly finished his former comrade Gilbert Burns. The UFC would then schedule a rematch with Masvidal at UFC 261 when the promotion returns to the ring.”

FanSided MMA’s Fight of the Year is Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler.

“Gaethje and Chandler met in the middle of the Octagon and rarely took steps back in what was expected to be a FOTY quality encounter from start to end.” Over the course of three rounds, the two lightweight sluggers launched hard combinations, with both men putting the other in considerable jeopardy.” – Curtis Calhoun has more information.


FanSided MMA’s Female Fighter of the Year is Rose Namajunas.

“Fast forward to the beginning of 2022, and Namajunas returns to the summit of the 115-pound mountain. And she accomplished it so well that FanSided MMA has chosen Namajunas as its Female Fighter of the Year for 2021.”

“Pettis went full sniper mode and caught Horiguchi with a perfectly timed spinning back fist that dropped the Japanese MMA icon,” writes FanSided MMA. “Pettis went full sniper mode and caught Horiguchi with a perfectly timed spinning back fist that felled the Japanese MMA icon.”

Patricio Pitbull’s standing guillotine by AJ McKee is FanSided MMA’s Submission of the Year.
“While some predicted McKee would beat Pitbull, no one predicted McKee would dominate the bout from the start. The fight lasted less than two minutes in total, and McKee seemed to be throwing punches ceaselessly. McKee thought he had knocked out Pitbull with a kick to the head, but the referee didn’t stop the fight, allowing McKee to reengage.”

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Pat Sabatini has been named Rookie of the Year by FanSided MMA.

“Before joining the UFC Octagon in 2021, Sabatini enjoyed a successful, championship-winning career on the regional circuit. He’d compete three times, win three times, and impress three times, earning him the title of Rookie of the Year from FanSided MMA.” – Tom Albano has further information.


FanSided MMA’s Biggest Comeback of the Year is Merab Dvalishvili’s victory over Marlon Moraes.

“Dvalishvili resorted to his game strategy of wresting Moraes in the second round, and it paid off. Dvalishvili would spend the balance of the fight on the ground, delivering a tremendous 142 unanswered strikes on Moraes over the course of four minutes, eventually tiring him and forcing a referee stoppage.”

Dustin Poirier is the Peoples Champ of FanSided MMA.

“The FanSided MMA Peoples Champ award is given annually to an MMA fighter who is well-liked by fans all around the world but has yet to earn an uncontested title in their weight class. Dustin Poirier was a clear choice for Peoples Champ in 2021.”

FanSided MMA’s Most Dominant Champion of the Year is Valentina Shevchenko.

“There have been few fighters in the history of mixed martial arts who have been as dominant in their weight class as Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko has won eight straight fights since returning to flyweight, including seven title battles, and has never dropped a round on any of the judges’ scorecards. Shevchenko won FanSided MMA’s Most Dominant Champion of the Year award for her supremacy in the UFC women’s flyweight division.”

UFC 261 is a FanSided event. The Fight Card of the Year in Mixed Martial Arts
“For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, UFC 261 was held in front of a sold-out crowd. While matches staged at the UFC APEX provided a unique perspective by allowing viewers to hear the impact of hits as well as instructions from the coaches’ corners. The return of fans at UFC 261 showed everyone how much larger and better things can be when there’s an enthusiastic crowd. Unlike some crowds that just come for the main event, the Jacksonville crowd was there for the first fight and remained loud until the very finish. Everything seemed more meaningful and effective with the inclusion of an energizing crowd.”

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FanSided MMA’s Fight Card of the Year is Bellator 263. (non-UFC)
“Usman Nurmagomedov, Goiti Yamauchi, Islam Mamedov, Mads Burnell, and others all won at Bellator 263,” according to the press release. In addition, eight of the eleven fights ended in a finish, which kept the crowd pumped throughout the night. Pitbull and McKee concluded the night with the biggest moment in Bellator history after ten exciting battles.”

The submission of Amanda Nunes by Julianna Pea at UFC 269 is FanSided MMA’s Upset of the Year.
“Pea endured a barrage of punishment from Nunes early in the bout, but the tide suddenly shifted as Pea managed to overwhelm Nunes with counter blows, throwing her off balance and eventually bringing her to the ground.” Pea then snatched Nunes’ back and put him in a rear-naked choke. Nunes tapped almost instantly, to to the surprise of practically everyone, including Pea, and history was created.”

“Felder announced his retirement live on the air during UFC Vegas 27,” according to FanSided MMA’s biggest retirement of 2021. After months of hinting a possible exit from MMA, he finally chose to leave the sport and focus on his broadcasting career.”

After Petr Yan’s DQ, Aljamain Sterling wins the bantamweight title. “Sterling became the first UFC fighter to win the belt on a disqualification,” says MMA’s Biggest Scandal of the Year. Fighters immediately took to Twitter to express their displeasure with the DQ. Fans were outraged, claiming that the title should not have changed hands and that it should be vacated. That’s where the scandal and debate started. From there, everything was only going to get worse.”

FanSided MMA’s Feel Good Moment of the Year is Miesha Tate’s comeback to the UFC.
“On March 24, it was revealed that Tate will be returning to the UFC and the Octagon on July 17, when he would face Marion Reneau in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 31. And it was Tate’s comeback performance that earned her the FanSided MMA Feel Good Moment this year.”

Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier 2 and 3 are FanSided Rematch of the Year in Mixed Martial Arts
“It would take Poirier seven long years to convince McGregor to return to the Octagon to settle the old score. Poirier’s quest for vengeance was marketed as the main event of UFC 257. He’d fulfill his mission by TKOing McGregor in the second round.”

“The former Cage Warrior’s featherweight champion made his move with a statement-defining win in his last appearance for the European MMA company, winning a decisive finish by submission and immediately sending a message to UFC president Dana White that the time to sign him up is now.” Pimblett’s signing was announced as a done deal by the UFC less than two weeks later.”

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Trevor Wittman has been named the FanSided MMA Coach of the Year for 2021. “Trevor Wittman has continued his reign of domination as MMA’s finest head coach and corner analyst on UFC broadcasts in 2021, as he has been crowned the FanSided MMA Coach of the Year once again.” After grabbing UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, Wittman led him to three of the most thrilling victories of his reign, including two highly anticipated rematches against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 and Colby Covington at UFC 268.”

FanSided MMA’s Analyst of the Year is Laura Sanko.
“This year, Sanko made history as the first female color commentator for the UFC in the Zuffa era. Sanko joined the Dana White Contender Series analyst team with her MMA experience and broadcasting skills. For the remainder of the Tuesday night events, she sat cageside with former UFC fighter Paul Felder and fellow analyst Dan Hellie. She handled the in-cage interviews as well as providing color analysis for the events.”
FanSided MMA’s Funniest Moment of the Year is Derrick Lewis chucking his cup into the crowd.

“After the battle, Lewis reached into his pants and pulled out his cup in front of the audience, his family, and those watching at home.” The crowd at the UFC Apex went wild when Lewis held it up in the center of the Octagon, cheering and requesting that he throw his used cup to them. Lewis, a commoner, complied by hurling his used cup into the stands.”

FanSided MMA’s Most Gruesome Injury of the Year is Khetag Pliev’s loss of a finger at CFFC 94. “Once the dust settled, Pliev was calmly sitting down with a missing finger on his left hand.” Before being discovered, the finger had been gone for some minutes. The finger had been pushed back inside the glove, barely retaining its grip. The bout was first ruled a TKO victory for Goodale, but it was later declared a no-contest. It’s safe to say that in an MMA battle, you never know what to expect. Fortunately, the finger could be saved and rejoined.”

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