UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has been named International Fighter of the Year at the World MMA Awards in Las Vegas, United States.
The honour follows a 12-month period that saw Whittaker rise from interim to undisputed middleweight champion, becoming the first Australian fighter to hold a UFC title.
"Stoked to be winning the International Fighter of the Year award," Whittaker said in a video posted to his Twitter account.
Whittaker defeated Yoel Romero by unanimous decision at UFC 213 in July 2017 to be named interim middleweight champion, before being promoted to undisputed champion in December 2017 after Georges St-Pierre vacated the title.
Im honoured, a massive thank you to everyone that helped me get across the line🏆👊🏽 #WorldMMAAwards @fightersonlymag @ufc @6_degrees_group pic.twitter.com/pGwEf9R0EH— Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) July 5, 2018
The New Zealand-born fighter then defeated Romero by split decision at UFC 225 in a non-title bout after Romero failed to make weight.
Whittaker's bout with Romero was recognised as a finalist in the Fight of the Year category, eventually won by Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 218.
Whittaker was also named as a finalist in the Fighter of Year category, an honour awarded to Max Holloway.
Fellow Australian figher Martin Nguyen was also named a finalist in the International Fighter of the Year category.