Man of the moment Conor McGregor’s inclusion on the list of 2017 ESPY nominees comes as no surprise, but it’s heartening to see UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson getting amongst it following ten straight defences of his title.
The list of nominees for Best Fighter, announced yesterday, also had room for boxers Terence Crawford, Gennady Golovkin and Andre Ward, all of whom have enjoyed fruitful years as champions.
McGregor, who won Best Fighter for 2016, is also nominated in the Best International Athlete category and will be up against sprinter Usain Bolt, Real Madrid soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, Mexican boxer Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and swimmer Katinka Hosszu.
For ‘Mighty Mouse’, meanwhile, it’s a breakthrough of sorts; a sign his skills as a UFC champion are now being acknowledged and respected by a larger audience, following years of underrated work. The diminutive American might not be on the brink of a hybrid super-fight with Floyd Mayweather but remains one of the most exciting fighters competing in the UFC today and is on the cusp of breaking Anderson’s record for consecutive title defences.