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Leon Edwards Up Against Lionel Messi & Nikola Jokić, Jon Jones Nominated in Multiple Categories, & Israel Adesanya Left Out in ESPYS 2023 Nominations

The 2023 ESPY Award nominees have been announced with several UFC fighters nominated for awards.

In one of the night’s biggest categories, welterweight champion Leon Edwards has made the cut in Best Championship Performance for his breath-taking comeback KO victory against Kamaru Usman to win the title. 

“Rocky” is up against fellow superstars Nikola Jokić, Lionel Messi and Rose Zhang for the award.

As well as Edwards, UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones has made it into two categories thanks to his UFC return after a three year break where he debuted at heavyweight, winning the vacant title by submitting Ciryl Gane in just over two minutes.

Nominated for both Best UFC Fighter and Best Comeback Athlete, “Bones” is back on top and it was only a matter of time before accolades started piling back up.

The four nominees for Best UFC Fighter, including Edwards and Jones, are rounded out by the dominant lightweight champion Islam Makhachev and the recently retired female GOAT two-division champion Amanda Nunes.

Missing from the list is Israel Adesanya who recently claimed he should win fighter of the year at least.

Israel Adesanya Snubbed At The ESPY Awards

Long before the nominees were announced, Israel Adesanya made it clear that he believes he should be flying back to New Zealand with several awards under his belt.

Posting a text exchange on Twitter, “The Last Stylebender” said that he deserves recognition in comeback, KO and fighter of the year.

Unfortunately for Izzy, as the messages recipient pointed out, the ESPYS only have one out and out category for MMA, UFC Fighter Of The Year which he was not nominated for.

Many fans disagreed with Adesanya’s statement, pointing out that Leon Edwards would be eligible for all three of the categories Israel believed he should be top in.

Whilst Edwards received two nominations, there’s no trophy waiting for Israel on this particular occasion. 

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