A new year is here, and that means it’s time for Combat Press to take a look back at the best of MMA in 2023. In the coming days, Combat Press will announce its award winners in multiple categories, covering everything from the action in the cage to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.
Las Vegas is the fight capital of the world. It also appens to be where the UFC is headquartered, so it makes sense that there are numerous world-class training facilities in Sin City. One of the premier gyms in the area, since its inception in 2007, is Xtreme Couture. The list of notable fighters who have called Xtreme Couture home is a mile long and includes former world champions like Meisha Tate, Forrest Griffin, Vitor Belfort, Jiri Prochazka, and, of course, Randy Couture. Not only has the gym housed former champions, but it is currently the training center of a number of rising stars like Farid and Javid Basharat, a pair of undefeated brothers beginning to make their mark on the UFC. The coaching staff is second-to-none and includes 2023 Coach of the Year Eric Nicksick as its head coach.
The year the gym had in 2023 was unparalleled, seeing Sean Strickland pull off one of the sport’s biggest upsets to become the undisputed UFC middleweight champion. That capped off a perfect 2023 for Strickland, who took home the award for Combat Press 2023 Male Fighter of the Year. Francis Ngannou is also a pupil of the gym, and, despite taking a hiatus from mixed martial arts for the 2023 calendar year, he had a noteworthy performance in his professional boxing debut by going the distance and knocking down world champion Tyson Fury en route to losing a controversial split-decision.
The Basharat brothers went a combined 3-0 with a no-contest in 2023, and flyweight Amir Albazi notched the biggest win of his career in 2023 by defeating Kai Kara-France. The fighters certainly did their part and deserve the lion’s share of credit for the success inside the cage, but, without the proper training schedule, regimen, and game plan that is coordinated by the coaches at the gym, that success would have been much more difficult to achieve, if not impossible.
Behind Strickland’s standout year, and the rising stars beginning to gain their footing, Xtreme Couture takes home the Combat Press 2023 MMA Award for Gym of the Year.
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