In what has turned out to be a year of significant change for the sport of MMA, 2015 has finally come and gone, leaving us to process all that has come to pass.
And a great deal happened over the past 12 months, reminding us as fans that nothing can be taken for granted in a sport with so many ways to win and lose, and they don’t have to happen inside the cage.
Jon Jones, one of the true greats of the sport, saw his title taken from him not by an opponent, but by his own hubris and personal indulgence. His actions saw him stripped of his title and now, his bitter rival, Daniel Cormier, wears the crown and established the beginnings of a reign with his defeat of Alexander Gustafsson.
And that is just one of many stories that unfolded in the sport; stories that spoke of brave men and women that took turns as both the hammer and the nail. On a long enough timeline, everyone losses, but we saw many of those fighters bounce back to show their true quality in 2015.
With a host of new champions in the UFC, 2016 will be a defining year in their careers; but it is this past year that we look at now, hopefully with full appreciation for all the effort and desire professional fighters muster as they step into the ring or cage.
While this is one of the safer combative sports to be had, it is not without risk. Yang Jian Bing of ONE FC, died due to dehydration and possibly heat stroke from a hard weight cut; a process taken for granted as normal and routine by the fans and fighters.
We should remember the passing of Bing with respect for what was lost; a loss his family will be feeling for some time to come.
These are the top five MMA fighters of 2015.