Atomweight of the Year
- Herica Tiburcio (1-0, won the Invicta title)
- Jodie Esquibel (2-0)
- Seo Hee Ham (3-0 at atomweight)
- Ayaka Hamasaki (2-0)
|Photo Courtesy of Lady Go!|
The 2014 WMMA Press Atomweight of the Year is Ayaka Hamasaki. Having spent the majority of her career to this point fighting at Strawweight, the Japanese fighter underwent knee surgery in 2013 that left her out of action for more than a year. When Hamasaki returned it was not at Strawweight but at Atomweight. In her first fight at 105, Hamasaki defeated former Jewels Champion and Invicta challenger, Naho Sugiyama by TKO in the first round.
Afterwards, Hamasaki faced off against veteran and former Valkyrie Champion "V.V" Mei Yamaguchi. The fight took place on Deep's NYE show at Saitama Super Arena. Hamasaki looked strong throughout the fight and won a Unanimous Decision.
I had the opportunity to talk to Ayaka about winning the award;
It is a great honor to be chosen!
Thank you very much!
I'm going to do my best this year as well!
[On her fight with Naho]
It was my first fight in over a year because of my knee surgery, it was also my first fight at 105, so I was a little nervous. From the beginning of the fight I was looking for either the TKO or the Sub, so its great that I got one.
[On her fight with Mei]
She was a very strong and tough opponent.
It makes me happy being able to fight a strong opponent like that.
I think it was a really good experience for me.
I think it would be really great to fight abroad in 2015.
If I get the chance to do that, I think I'd like to challenge for the title.
I'd like to really thank all those who not only supported me this time, but who always support me.
I want to repay your support with victories.
The WMMA Press Award is the longest running award for the female divisions of MMA. This will be the 6th year. Six websites from across the planet are part of the committee this year which is a cross section of women's MMA experts.
Pedro Henrique: Da Made Ferro MMA
Charlie Jewett: CJ's Report
Yael Grauer: Sherdog
MarQ Piocos: WomantSports.com
Elias Stefanescu: Ground and Pound
Kristin Ursy: Women's MMA Round-up