The two UFC stars have been nominated for “Fighter of the Year” at ESPN’s annual award show, which will take place in Los Angeles on July 18.
It is the first nomination for Namajunas, the reigning strawweight champion, and the fourth of St-Pierre’s illustrious career. The nominations were announced Thursday. Winners will be determined by fan voting.
Following a four-year hiatus from MMA competition, “GSP” made a triumphant return last November at UFC 217 to challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight championship. He defeated Bisping by third-round submission to become the fourth two-division titleholder in UFC history. The 37-year-old Canadian reigned as the undisputed welterweight champion from April 2008-November 2013.
Namajunas also made a splash at UFC 217, defeating previously unbeaten strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk by first-round TKO. It was a stunning victory for the 25-year-old, who would face Jedrzejczyk in a rematch at UFC 223 five months later and successfully defend the title via five-round unanimous decision.
UFC fighters have won the last three Fighter of the Year ESPYs: Demetrious Johnson (2017), Conor McGregor (2016), and Ronda Rousey (2015).
Also in the running for the 2018 award are boxing champions Terence Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko.