The 5 best fighters from the UK in UFC historical past

by akoloy

2021 might be a giant 12 months for UK-based fighters within the UFC. Darren Till faces Marvin Vettori within the UFC’s subsequent foremost occasion and will obtain a UFC Middleweight title shot with a win. Meanwhile, Liverpool-based prospect Paddy Plimblett has additionally been signed by the promotion.

Over the years, we’ve seen loads of UK-based fighters enter the UFC’s Octagon, however who’s the best British UFC fighter of all time?

There are numerous notable candidates, however the next 5 stand out as being the most effective British fighters in UFC historical past.

#5 Ross Pearson (UFC document: 12-13-1)

Ross Pearson won the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter.
Ross Pearson gained the ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter.

While the again finish of his UFC profession broken his document considerably, Ross Pearson stays one of the crucial excellent UFC fighters to be produced by the UK.

The Real Deal first emerged into the UFC through the ninth season of TUF. Coached by Michael Bisping, Pearson gained the Lightweight match within the USA vs. UK match, outpointing his countryman Andre Winner within the finals.

Few followers anticipated him to go onto main UFC success, however he truly turned one of many Lightweight division’s most dependable fighters.

Pearson picked up main wins over the likes of Dennis Siver, Spencer Fisher, and Gray Maynard throughout his decade-long tenure with the UFC.

And in 2012, he turned the second British fighter to educate on a sequence of TUF, going up in opposition to George Sotiropoulos’ staff of Australians. The Real Deal would knock Sotiropoulos out on the finale of the present.

Pearson was by no means capable of achieve a shot on the UFC Lightweight title and was well past his prime when he lastly left the UFC in 2019. But this likable fighter nonetheless makes it onto the checklist of the most effective British fighters in UFC historical past.

#4 Darren Till (UFC document: 6-3-1)

Darren Till could find himself in line for a shot at the UFC Middleweight title in the near future.
Darren Till may discover himself in line for a shot on the UFC Middleweight title within the close to future.

Darren Till’s UFC document isn’t all that gaudy, however there’s no denying this product of Liverpool has established himself as one of many UFC’s best British fighters.

The Gorilla debuted within the UFC on brief discover again in 2015 however made an immediate splash by violently TKO’ing Wendell Oliveira.

From there, his rise was understated. He drew with Nicolas Dalby after injuring his shoulder, however after wins over Jessin Ayari and Bojan Velickovic, Till was given a giant likelihood by the UFC.

In the primary occasion of the UFC’s first present in Gdansk, he discovered himself going through off with veteran Donald Cerrone. He subsequently stopped Cowboy within the first spherical.

The win launched Till into stardom, notably within the UK. And simply months later, he headlined the UFC’s first present in his hometown of Liverpool in opposition to veteran Stephen Thompson.

After receiving one of many greatest reactions in UFC historical past from his dwelling crowd, The Gorilla outpointed Wonderboy to earn a shot at UFC Welterweight champ Tyron Woodley.

Till misplaced that struggle, and following one other loss to Jorge Masvidal, he moved to 185lbs, the place he immediately moved into title competition with a win over Kelvin Gastelum.

The Gorilla is now seemingly one win away from a shot at UFC Middleweight champ Israel Adesanya – which may imply that he might turn into the subsequent fighter from the UK to assert UFC gold.

#3 Dan Hardy (UFC document: 6-4)

Dan Hardy fought for the UFC Welterweight title in 2010.
Dan Hardy fought for the UFC Welterweight title in 2010.

The first fighter from the UK to obtain a shot at a UFC title, it’s straightforward to overlook Dan Hardy’s accomplishments.

That’s most likely as a result of The Outlaw is seen extra as a commentator nowadays, as he was compelled into semi-retirement on account of a congenital coronary heart situation found again in 2012.

Hardy – who was just lately launched by the UFC after a mysterious spat with an unnamed UFC official – joined the promotion in 2008 after a formidable run that noticed him win eight of 9 fights, with the one loss coming through disqualification.

He defeated PRIDE veteran Akihiro Gono in his UFC debut and adopted that up with spectacular wins over Rory Markham and Marcus Davis.

Those wins propelled The Outlaw right into a stunning UFC Welterweight title eliminator with Mike Swick. And Hardy duly gained the struggle to earn a shot at champion Georges St. Pierre.

The native of Nottingham misplaced that title shot however put up a superb struggle and lasted the gap with GSP. And whereas he misplaced his subsequent three fights – to Carlos Condit, Anthony Johnson, and Chris Lytle – he was by no means actually outclassed.

Hardy bought again on the profitable observe in 2012 with wins over Duane Ludwig and Amir Sadollah. But as beforehand said, his uncommon coronary heart situation then compelled him into early retirement.

Despite this, although, Hardy’s achievements stay a few of the greatest from a British fighter within the UFC and positively warrant him a spot on this checklist.

#2 Leon Edwards (UFC document: 10-2-1)

Leon Edwards is currently ranked as one of the UFC
Leon Edwards is at the moment ranked as one of many UFC’s high Welterweights.

When Leon Edwards debuted within the UFC in 2014 in a forgettable loss to Claudio Silva, no person would’ve predicted that he’d be thought of the most effective Welterweights on the earth just some years later.

But that’s precisely what Rocky now could be, and with maybe one or two extra wins, he may discover himself in line for a shot on the UFC Welterweight title.

The change in Edwards’ fortunes actually started when he took virtually six months off following a loss to Kamaru Usman in December 2015. Rocky returned in 2016 a much-improved fighter, full with arguably the most effective wrestling UFC followers had ever seen from a British fighter.

And within the years which have adopted, Edwards has put collectively an unbeaten run of 9 fights, together with wins over Donald Cerrone, Vicente Luque, and Rafael Dos Anjos.

Rocky would maybe be in line for the subsequent title shot had he defeated Belal Muhammad earlier this month. But the struggle led to a No Contest – leaving his subsequent struggle a significant query mark.

However, no different British UFC fighter has put collectively a profitable streak fairly like his, making him a cushty quantity two on this checklist.

#1 Michael Bisping (UFC document: 20-9)

Michael Bisping remains the only British fighter to win a UFC title.
Michael Bisping stays the one British fighter to win a UFC title.

Michael Bisping might not have been the primary UFC fighter to hail from the UK – that was Ian The Machine Freeman means again in 2000 – however he stays by far probably the most profitable.

Bisping was given a giant push from the UFC’s brass from the off. He gained the Light-Heavyweight match on the third season of TUF and rapidly discovered himself positioned because the face of the UFC within the UK.

It was Bisping’s star energy that helped the promotion sell-out Manchester’s MEN Arena for UFC 70 in 2007. And The Count lived as much as his hype, stopping Elvis Sinosic within the co-main occasion.

But Bisping’s best successes got here as soon as he dropped to 185lbs in 2008.

With a continuously growing skillset based mostly round his sharp placing, underrated wrestling, and unbelievable cardio, he beat fighters like Chris Leben, Denis Kang, and Yoshihiro Akiyama to ascertain himself as one of many world’s high Middleweights.

And his outspoken, brash persona additionally helped to construct his fame as one of many UFC’s premier villains.

However, for a very long time, it felt like The Count was destined to go down as the most effective fighters to by no means declare UFC gold, as he frequently fell brief earlier than gaining a title shot.

That all modified in 2016, although.

Bisping was thrown right into a struggle with UFC Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold on late discover, changing the injured Chris Weidman.

And in one of many greatest upsets in UFC historical past, he knocked Rockhold out within the first spherical to turn into the primary British fighter to win a UFC title.

Bisping misplaced the title in his first protection after which retired after one additional loss, however by that time, his legacy was intact. With a formidable document of 20-9 in addition to a reign as UFC Middleweight champion, he stands as the best British fighter in UFC historical past.

Published 30 Mar 2021, 18:35 IST

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