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UFC Champions Jon Jones and Leon Edwards Nominated for ESPY Awards

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ESPY nominations

Jon Jones and Leon Edwards have set their sights on more accolades.

ESPN has announced the nominees for the upcoming ESPY awards show, scheduled to take place on July 12 in Los Angeles. Among the nominees are UFC champions Jon Jones, Leon Edwards, and Islam Makhachev, as well as the recently retired Amanda Nunes.

Both Jones and Edwards have received two nominations each. Jones is nominated for Best MMA Fighter and Best Comeback Athlete, while Edwards is recognized for Best Championship Performance and Best MMA Fighter.

In March’s UFC 285, Jones marked his return after a three-year hiatus by triumphantly defeating Ciryl Gane in the first round via submission, claiming the vacant UFC heavyweight title. This victory crowned him as a two-division champion, following his dominating reign as the UFC’s light heavyweight champion throughout the majority of the 2010s.

Jones is no stranger to ESPY nominations, having previously been nominated for Best Fighter consecutively from 2011 to 2014. However, he fell short to boxers Manny Pacquiao (2011) and Floyd Mayweather (2012-2014). This marks Jones’ first nomination in the Best MMA Fighter category, which was introduced in 2019 when the Best Fighter award was divided into Best Boxer and Best MMA Fighter.

On the other hand, these nominations mark the first for Edwards, the reigning UFC welterweight champion. Edwards gained considerable recognition in 2022 following his stunning fifth-round knockout victory over Kamaru Usman at UFC 278, ending Usman’s undefeated streak in his first 15 UFC appearances. Edwards successfully defended his title in an immediate rematch against Usman at UFC 286.

Makhachev, who won the UFC lightweight title against Charles Oliveira in October of last year, also received a nomination. He then successfully defended his title against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284. Makhachev has been on an impressive 12-fight winning streak since September 2016.

Amanda Nunes concluded her remarkable 15-year career with a dominant bantamweight title defense against Irene Aldana at UFC 289 on June 10. Shortly after, Nunes retired, leaving behind a legacy that includes numerous records. She holds the record for the most wins by a female fighter (16) and the most title defense wins by a female fighter (11), tying her for fourth place on the all-time list with the legendary Anderson Silva.

The ESPYs, established in 1993, aim to honor athletes from a wide range of sports. MMA fighters were first recognized in the newly formed Best Fighter category, which also included boxers, in 2007. Ronda Rousey became the first UFC fighter to win the Best Fighter award in 2015, followed by Conor McGregor in 2016 and Demetrious Johnson in 2017.

Since the division into Best Boxer and Best MMA Fighter categories, Daniel Cormier, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Charles Oliveira have all claimed the Best MMA Fighter award.

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