5 UFC coach of the year candidates in 2021

Coach Trevor Wittman with one of his pupils, UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje
Coach Trevor Wittman with one of his pupils, UFC lightweight Justin Gaethje

#2. Eugene Bareman - City Kickboxing

City Kickboxing's Eugene Bareman continuously finds himself in conversations for UFC coach of the year. Training fighters out of New Zealand and Australia, Bareman has made quite the splash in North American waters. The renowned coach currently trains two champions: Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski.

Some of Eugine Bareman's skills were put to the test after his star pupil, Israel Adesanya, endured the first MMA loss of his career. In early March, Adesanya and Bareman attempted to make history by having 'The Last Stylebender' move up in weight to challenge for the 205-pound gold.

While many thought the perplexing striking of 'The Last Stylebender' would overwhelm the Polish champion, Jan Blachowicz delivered a shut-out performance. Blachowicz very effectively utilized takedowns in open space, ultimately scoring the decision win.

Adesanya would attempt to silence his critics by facing Italy's Marvin Vettori next, three months after his last fight.

Eugene Bareman and Adesanya evidently worked on takedown defense. During Adesanya's title defense at UFC 263, the rising star stuffed ten of the fourteen takedowns attempted by Vettori. After a showing of dominant striking throughout the five rounds, Adesanya was awarded the victory alongside his pivotal coach, Eugene Bareman.

#1. Trevor Wittman trains two UFC champions

Trevor Whitman has proven time and again he's one of the top-running coaches of the year. Wittman is a calming presence and is known for cornering a handful of exciting fighters. He currently trains UFC middleweight champion Kamaru Usman and women's strawweight champion Rose Namajunas.

Wittman and his pupils prevailed in 2021. Usman and Wittman lead the pack with arguably the most dominant title reign of the year. The fighter and coach were tasked with three title fights and came out on top in all of them. In one of Usman's toughest title defenses to date, he defeated Colby Covington at UFC 268.

In addition to seeing Usman reach three title defenses in 2021, Trevor Wittman coached Rose Namajunas en route to making history. 'Thug Rose' was tasked with facing China's Zhang Weili at UFC 261. The fight was highly anticipated and the UFC event was the first one to have a sold-out crowd since the onset of the pandemic.

The fight was quick. Namajunas would connect on a high kick and become the first woman to recapture a title she lost in the UFC. The two later ran it back with Wittman in Namajunas' corner again. Suffice to say, Namajunas got the job done and retained her belt. Given his efforts this year, Trevor Wittman is the strongest candidate for UFC coach of the year in 2021.

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Edited by John Cunningham
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