World MMA Awards 2018: Justin Gaethje, Rose Namajunas Win Big

Justin Gaethje
Justin Gaethje Credit: Dave Mandel/

The UFC reigned supreme once again at the 10th Annual World MMA Awards in Las Vegas, which took place during International Fight Week.

This year, Fighter’s Only Magazine hosted the World MMA awards during the UFC’s International Fight Week leading up to UFC 226.  This is the tenth iteration of the award show and there were few surprises in terms of the winners in each category.

The Charles “Mask” Lewis Fighter of the Year award went to UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway.  “Blessed” made history by winning his eleventh and twelfth straight victories, both over long-time champion José Aldo.  He beat out newly minted UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, who made his twelfth straight title defense in 2017.

Female Fighter of the Year went to new UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas who beat stern competition from long-time featherweight powerhouse Cris “Cyborg” Justino and Bellator flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane.  Namajunas also took home the award for Upset of the Year for her victory over Joanna Jędrzejczyk last year to win the title.

The UFC was well-represented, as per usual, at the awards.  The UFC took home 13 awards, sweeping every fighter category as well as taking the award for the Promotion of the Year.  UFC Octagon Girl Jhenny Andrade also took the award for Ringcard Girl of the Year for the second year in a row.

Justin Gaethje won two awards, winning for both Comeback of the Year against Michael Johnson at the Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale and accepting the award for Fight of the Year against Eddie Alvarez in 2018.  In his acceptance speech, Gaethje made sure to praise his coach Trevor Whitman and remarked that both he and Namajunas won two awards and they had a coach who won Coach of the Year.

John McCarthy also was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Notably, McCarthy also won the award for Referee of the Year in what could be his last nomination in the category.  He has expressed his interest in focusing on his burgeoning broadcast career as an analyst for Bellator.  It is anticipated he could be nominated for Personality of the Year next year as he gets even more experience on the mic.

Winners in Bold below.

Charles ‘Mask’ Lewis Fighter of the Year

Ryan Bader

Rafael dos Anjos

Robert Whittaker

Demetrious Johnson

Max Holloway

Female Fighter of the Year

Julia Budd

Angela Lee

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane

Cris Cyborg

Rose Namajunas

Breakthrough Fighter of the Year

Martin Nguyen

Volkan Oezdemir

Brian Ortega

Darren Till

Francis Ngannou

International Fighter of the Year

Volkan Oezdemir

Martin Nguyen

Darren Till

Robert Whittaker

Kamaru Usman

Fight of the Year

Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier (UFC 211)

Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero (UFC 213)

Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Johnson (The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale)

Aung La N Sang vs. Vitaly Bigdash (ONE Championship: Light Of A Nation)

Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje (UFC 218)

Knockout of the Year

Matt Brown (vs. Diego Sanchez, UFC Norfolk)

Edson Barboza (vs. Beneil Dariush, UFC Fortaleza)

Paul Daley (vs. Brennan Ward, Bellator 170)

Francis Ngannou (vs. Alistair Overeem, UFC 218)

Aaron Pico (vs. Justin Linn, Bellator 183)

Submission of the Year

Diego Brandao (vs. Murad Machaev, Fight Nights Global 38)

Brett Johns (vs. Joe Soto, The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale)

Ali Bagov (vs. Bubba Jenkins, ACB 54)

Brian Ortega (vs. Cub Swanson, UFC Fresno)

Demetrious Johnson (vs. Ray Borg, UFC 216)

Comeback of the Year

Justin Gaethje (vs. Michael Johnson, The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale)

Uriah Hall (vs. Krzysztof Jotko, UFC Pittsburghe)

Nathaniel Wood (vs. Josh Reed, Cage Warriors 86)

Derrick Lewis (vs. Travis Browne, UFC Halifax)

Upset of the Year

Martin Nguyen (vs. Marat Gafurov, ONE Championship: Quest For Greatness)

Darren Elkins (vs. Mirsad Bektic, UFC 209)

Brent Primus (vs. Michael Chandler, Bellator 180)

Rose Namajunas (vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk, UFC 217)

Zach Freeman (vs. Aaron Pico, Bellator 180)

Shawn Tompkins Coach of the Year

Duke Roufus

Trevor Wittman

Firas Zahabi

Matt Hume

Duane Ludwig

Trainer of the Year

Sam Calavitta (S&C coach)

Nick Curson (S&C coach)

Phil Daru (S&C coach)

Tyler Minton (Nutrionist)

Michelle Ingels (Nutrionist)

Gym of the Year


Gracie Technics

Kings MMA

American Top Team


Referee of the Year

Jason Herzog

Mike Beltran

Herb Dean

Marc Goddard

John McCarthy

Ringcard Girl of the Year

Angelica Anderson

Carly Baker

Jhenny Andrade

Arianny Celeste

Mercedes Terrell

Leading Man

Martin Lewandowski

Chatri Sityodtong

Ed Soares

Dana White

Scott Coker

Best Promotion


ONE Championship



Bellator MMA

Personality of the Year

Daniel Cormier

Michael Schiavello

Chael Sonnen

Jon Anik

Joe Rogan

Analyst of the Year

Paul Felder

Jimmy Smith

Dominick Cruz

Pat Miletich

Brian Stann

Best MMA Programming

MMA Junkie Radio

The Ultimate Fighter

Sherdog Roundtable

The MMA Hour

UFC Embedded

MMA Media Source of the Year


Bloody Elbow


MMA Junkie

MMA Fighting

MMA Journalist of the Year

Karim Zidan

Brett Okamoto

Chuck Mindenhall

John Morgan

Ariel Helwani

MMA Clothing and Equipment Brand of the Year



Bad Boy




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