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#FreestyleFriday: Cejudo, Cormier, Albarracin and Usman among several wrestlers up for World MMA Awards

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | July 10, 2020, 3:51 p.m. (ET)

Fighters Only Magazine is putting on its 12th-annual World MMA Awards, one of the most prestigious award ceremonies in mixed martial arts. Among the nominees in several categories are U.S. freestyle standouts Henry Cejudo, Daniel Cormier and Eric Albarracin.

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HENRY CEJUDO, Fighter of the Year nominee
Cejudo is one of five fighters up for Charles “Mask” Lewis Fighter of the Year.

In 2020, Cejudo successfully defended his bantamweight title, knocking out Dominick Cruz in the second round of UFC 249 in late-May. In his post-match interview, Cejudo announced his intent to retire from the sport.

Cejudo’s last four fights were all title fights, which he won/defended. In 2019, he became only the fourth fighter in UFC history to be a simultaneous double champion, holding titles in the flyweight and bantamweight divisions.

During his freestyle career, Cejudo won the 2008 Olympic title at 55 kg/121 lbs., becoming the youngest U.S. wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal at the time.

DANIEL CORMIER, Analyst of the Year nominee
Cormier is up for the Analyst of the Year Award. While still active in his fighting career, Cormier has become one of the top analysts for the UFC.

As a fighter, he’s been wildly successful, also holding two titles at once, heavyweight and light heavy weight. He was the third fighter to achieve the feat.

As a wrestler for the USA, Cormier was a two-time Olympian, competing in the 2000 Sydney Games and the 2004 Athens Games. He was also a 2007 World bronze medalist in freestyle.

ERIC ALBARRACIN, Coach of the Year nominee
Albarracin has made the cut for Coach of the Year, which is no surprise. Albarracin coaches Cejudo in UFC as well as Patricio “Pitbull” Freire in Bellator.

With these two athletes, Albarracin has helped them to multiple titles and title defenses, including two different division titles and five defenses for Freire and two different division titles and two defenses for Cejudo.

As an athlete, Albarracin was a 2000 Military World silver medalist and also owned a 1997 Pan American silver medal. Domestically, he was a three-time University Nationals champion and a seven-time Armed Forces champ. 

KAMARU USMAN, International Fighter of the Year; Fight of the Year
Representing Nigeria, Usman is up for two awards this year: International Fighter of the Year and Fight of the Year.

Last March, Usman won the UFC welterweight title against fellow wrestler Tyron Woodley. He went on to defend his title in December with a TKO over Colby Covington. Tomorrow, he seeks to defend it for a second time in UFC 251.

Prior to fighting, Usman represented the United States at the 2010 University World Championships in freestyle, where he turned in a top-10 performance. He also wrestled in NCAA Division II competition, where he won a national championship.

Other former wrestlers up for awards include Justin Gaethje (Fighter of the Year), Cody Garbrandt (Knockout of the Year; Comeback of the Year), Stipe Miocic (Comeback of the Year), Eddie Alvarez (Comeback of the Year), Kelvin Gastelum (Fight of the Year), Josh Emmett (Fight of the Year), Bryce Mitchell (Submission of the Year), Mike Brown (Coach of the Year), Chael Sonnen (Personality of the Year) and Robbie Lawler (Fighting Spirit of the Year).