After the cinematic-like rise of the now UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping’s career, British MMA has gained widespread mainstream attention. Although ‘The Count’ remains the only British fighter to win a UFC title so far, there are several young stars waiting in the wings.
One of the fastest growing sports of the last few decades, mixed martial arts in the UK has experienced a real surge in popularity. Talented British fighters are currently learning the trade at feeder promotions like Cage Warriors and BAMMA with the main aim of earning a lucrative UFC deal. Some have already broken through to major promotions but are yet to challenge in championship fights or headline global pay-per-view events.
Here is a list of the top 5 British fighters most likely to win a major title in the Octagon or break into the international market in 2019. The Home Nations are producing a range of exciting fighters across all the different weight classes and it’s time for the next British MMA superstar.
Mason ‘The Dragon’ Jones is a lightweight fighter from Blaenavon, Wales. He is currently signed to the Cage Warriors promotion and is unbeaten as a professional with a record of 6-0. ‘The Dragon’ viciously defeated Kacper Formela in a first-round finish in his last outing with some brutal knee strikes. The 23-year-old is fighting at Cage Warriors 104 in Cardiff and definitely one to watch for the future.
Jack ‘Tank’ Shore is the reigning Cage Warriors Bantamweight Champion. Fighting out of Tillery Combat MMA, the undefeated Welsh warrior from Abertillery is ready to defend his title at Cage Warriors 104 against Scott ‘Boom Boom’ Malone. The 24-year-old has a professional MMA record of 10-0, with rumours circling that he will be offered a UFC contract if he retains his Cage Warriors title. Extremely popular with the Cardiff crowds, Jack is undoubtedly the Welsh answer to Conor McGregor and so far his career is certainly following the same path.
Fabian ‘The Assassin’ Edwards is a middleweight fighter from Birmingham. A former BAMMA fighter, ‘The Assassin’ is currently fighting under the Bellator banner with an undefeated record of 6-0. He is also the younger brother of welterweight star Leon Edwards (who recently defeated Gunnar Nelson at UFC London). Edwards comfortably defeated MMA veteran Lee Chadwick by decision in his last outing – the only time he has gone the distance in his career. He next fights on the main card of Bellator Birmingham against Falco Neto on May 4. ‘The Assassin’ is hotly tipped to headline future Bellator shows and become the new face of Sky Sports’ MMA venture.
Arnold ‘Almighty’ Allen is quickly becoming a real fan favourite. The UFC featherweight fighter made his promotional debut on short notice back in 2015 defeating Alan Omer via third-round submission, winning a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus in the process. After recently dominating gritty grappler Jordan Rinaldi at UFC London, Allen is now 5-0 in the UFC with a professional record of 14-1. The Suffolk-born fighter trains at the prestigious Tristar Gym which boasts notable fighters including Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald.
Nathaniel ‘The Prospect’ Wood is a former Cage Warriors Bantamweight Champion competing in the UFC. Under the tutelage of his head coach and British MMA legend Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett, ‘The Prospect’ looks certain to make his way up the matchmaking ladder. TJ Dillashaw recently vacated the bantamweight belt under controversial circumstances which has thrown the division wide open. After emphatically submitting Jose Alberto Quinonez in style on the main card of UFC London, Wood extended his undefeated run to 3-0 in the UFC and 16-3 overall. All 3 of his UFC victories have come by way of submission including a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus on his Octagon debut. Wood is eager to seek revenge against Marlon Vera in his outing, the man who beat his mentor Pickett in his retirement fight. ‘The Prospect’ is undoubtedly the future champion British MMA fans have been looking for and a title shot could potentially happen in the next year if the cards fall in the right way.