Conor McGregor named Sports Illustrated's MMA Fighter of the Year

The Irishman claimed the lightweight title at the end of 2016

Conor McGregor named Sports Illustrated's MMA Fighter of the Year

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tom Hogan

Conor McGregor has been named the MMA Fighter of the Year by Sports Illustrated.

The Irishman, who was the reigning featherweight champion when he beat Eddie Alvarez to claim the lightweight title in November, was named the biggest fighter in the sport by the iconic sports publication this week.  

Outlining why they chose the Dubliner, Sports Illustrated stated that he "headlined the biggest event in the sport’s history with one of its most iconic moments [and] he smashed pay-per-view records in every one of his fights."

Noting that McGregor is now the biggest draw in the history of the promotion, they added: "To put into perspective how significant that is, McGregor’s three pay-per-views in 2016 pulled in more buys than all UFC pay-per-views in 2014 combined (reportedly 3.0 million-3.2 million).

"As noted by Bloody Elbow, during a 12-month stretch dating to UFC 194 in December 2015, McGregor drew nearly six million buys, which would double that 2014 calendar year."

McGregor beat out competition from Cody Garbrandt, Amanda Nunes and Stipe Miocic to be named the fighter of the year. 

Garbrandt started off the year as an unranked fighter, but finished it with a belt around his waist after defeating Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 to claim the bantamweight title. His fantastic win also saw him crack into the UFC's pound-for-pound rankings, leaving him at fifth overall.

Amanda Nunes also had a successful year, claiming the women's bantamweight title and defeating former champion Ronda Rousey in just 48 seconds last week, making her the only woman aside from Rousey herself to successfully defend the title.

Via Sports Illustrated