UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones and UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva have been nominated for the 2012 ESPY Award in the category of Best Fighter.
Other nominees in this category are WBC Welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and current WBA and WBC Middleweight champion Andre Ward. Mayweather won the Best Fighter award in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
The 20th ESPYS are live on Wednesday, July 11th at the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles with host Rob Riggle. The event is the one night where the sports world joins together to celebrate the best moments of the year. Fans will have the chance to select the winners by voting online or by mobile device at ESPN.com/ESPYS. Additionally, fans can follow the official ESPYS Twitter page: @ESPYS.
“It’s an honor to not only be nominated for the ESPY for Best Fighter, but to also be included in a category with some of the greatest fighters in MMA and boxing history.” Jones said.
“Jon had possibly the greatest year of any MMA competitor in history in 2011, and he has carried that over to 2012 so far. This is a well-earned nomination, and it is our hope that the MMA community can help Jon to win his first ESPY Award by voting frequently,” stated Malki Kawa, President of First Round Management and Jones’ agent.
Jones, who holds a 16-1 professional record, won all four of his fights in 2011. On Feb. 5 at UFC 126, the 24 year-old Endicott, N.Y. native defeated Ryan Bader by submission. Just six weeks later at UFC 128, Jones earned the Light Heavyweight belt by dominating Mauricio “Shogun” Rua with a third-round TKO/KO. At UFC 135 on Sept. 24, Jones capped off his first title defense with a submission victory over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. It was the first time Jackson had ever been submitted in his legendary UFC career. On Dec. 10 at UFC 140, Jones downed Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida by technical submission.
With those victories, Jones became the first fighter in UFC history to defeat three former champions in one calendar year.
Starting off 2012, Jones defeated another former champion, “Suga” Rashad Evans, by unanimous decision at UFC 145 on April 21. He is next scheduled to fight Dan Henderson at UFC 151 on Sept. 1 in Las Vegas.
Silva won both of his fights in 2011, defeating Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 with a highlight-reel front kick knockout and then dispatching Yushin Okami by second round technical knockout at UFC 134. He is set to face Chael Sonnen at UFC 148 in the most anticipated rematch in MMA history.
The ESPYS and related events benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research in memory of the late Jim Valvano.