A lot that goes into the criteria for consideration as Fighter of the Year involves the volume of victories a fighter picks up over the course of those 365 days. This year, our pick for the award only stepped into the cage twice. Guys like Demetrious Johnson, Urijah Faber, Robbie Lawler and Vitor Belfort all had amazing years, but Chris Weidman’s two victories over the greatest fighter of all time has earned him the honor.

A lot of things had to go right for Weidman to get to where he is now. The New Yorker had an extremely rough end to his 2012 campaign. Weidman’s Long Island home was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and a shoulder injury forced him to pull out of a possible title eliminator against Tim Boetsch. That layoff pushed Weidman to the back of the line of middleweight contenders, but everything that needed to happen for him to get the shot happened. Boetsch, Alan Belcher, Michael Bisping and Rashad Evans all lost fights that could have earned them the shot. After prodding UFC brass and Silva for a long time, Weidman earned his shot. It came at UFC 162.

Although what happened in that event might not be the biggest upset as far as betting lines go, the ending could certainly be considered among the most shocking in the sport’s 20-year history. Weidman knocked out Silva in the second round while Silva was in the middle of his signature striking antics.

Many people called the victory a fluke, but Weidman was still the champion and wanted to give Silva the rematch. That fight came at UFC 168.

After months of hype for what many called the biggest fight in UFC history, the two men stepped inside the Octagon once again. At almost the exact same time of round two, Weidman won again. It was another finish, but this time it came when Silva broke his leg as Weidman checked one of his leg kicks.

Let’s just say that the finish in both of those bouts were not of the cleanest variety, and some might even favor Silva if the two fight for a third time. However, most seem to brush aside the fact that in the two complete rounds that were fought, Weidman dominated Silva. Weidman clearly won the first round in July and was even more dominant in the second bout, where he nearly knocked out Silva once again.

In a year that marked a true changing of the guard in the UFC, Weidman has certainly cemented his status as a man who could turn out to be one of the new icons of the sport.

Honorable Mention: Demetrious Johnson, Robbie Lawler, Vitor Belfort
The MMA Corner’s 2013 Awards were selected by our staff of writers and photographers. Unless noted otherwise, the nominations were open to all fighters, promotions and events that took place during 2013.

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.