ESPN on Wednesday announced
the nominees for its annual awards show, which this year takes
place on July 12 in Los Angeles. Jones and Edwards are joined by
Nunes and Islam
Makhachev as the candidates for the Best MMA Fighter Category.
Additionally, Jones is on the list for Best Comeback Athlete, while
Edwards is in the running for Best Championship Performance.
Jones returned to action following a three-year layoff at UFC 285,
where he claimed the vacant heavyweight crown with a first-round
submission of Ciryl Gane.
“Bones” is going up against the Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray, the
Connecticut Sun’s Alyssa Thomas and the New York Mets’ Justin
Verlander in the Best Comeback Athlete category.
Edwards was nominated for Best Championship Performance thanks to
his improbable fifth-round KO of Kamaru
Usman to claim welterweight gold at UFC 278 last August. The
Englisman has since defended the belt, earning a majority decision
triumph against Usman in a rematch at UFC 286. Edwards will be up
against NBA Finals MVP Nikola Jokic, 2022 World Cup star Lionel
Messi and LPGA standout Rose Zhang in this category.
Makhachev claimed the lightweight title with a second-round
submission of Charles
Oliveira before defending the belt with a five-round verdict
over featherweight champ Alexander
Volkanovski at UFC 284 on Feb. 11. He is currently in the midst
of a 12-fight winning streak in the UFC.
Nunes, who is regarded by many as the greatest female MMA fighter
ever, rebounded from an upset loss to Julianna
Pena in 2021 to regain the bantamweight title with a dominant
five-round verdict over “The Venezuelan Vixen” at UFC 277. She
retired after defending the 135-pound belt in a lopsided triumph
Aldana at UFC 289 on June 10.
Voting for the ESPYs is currently underway and will continue until
July 9 at 8 p.m. ET.
Jon Jones, Leon Edwards Receive Multiple ESPY Nominations