2021 might be an enormous 12 months for UK-based fighters within the UFC. Darren Till faces Marvin Vettori within the UFC’s subsequent principal 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 various notable candidates, however the next 5 stand out as being the perfect British fighters in UFC historical past.
#5 Ross Pearson (UFC document: 12-13-1)
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 received 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 grew to become 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 grew to become the second British fighter to educate on a sequence of TUF, going up towards George Sotiropoulos’ group of Australians. The Real Deal would knock Sotiropoulos out on the finale of the present.
Pearson was by no means in a position to acquire 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 record of the perfect British fighters in UFC historical past.
#4 Darren Till (UFC document: 6-3-1)
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 quick discover again in 2015 however made an prompt 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 an enormous probability by the UFC.
In the primary occasion of the UFC’s first present in Gdansk, he discovered himself dealing with 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 towards veteran Stephen Thompson.
After receiving one of many largest reactions in UFC historical past from his residence crowd, The Gorilla outpointed Wonderboy to earn a shot at UFC Welterweight champ Tyron Woodley.
Till misplaced that battle, and following one other loss to Jorge Masvidal, he moved to 185lbs, the place he immediately moved into title rivalry with a win over Kelvin Gastelum.
The Gorilla is now possible one win away from a shot at UFC Middleweight champ Israel Adesanya – which might imply that he might develop into the following fighter from the UK to say UFC gold.
#3 Dan Hardy (UFC document: 6-4)
The first fighter from the UK to obtain a shot at a UFC title, it’s simple to neglect Dan Hardy’s accomplishments.
That’s most likely as a result of The Outlaw is seen extra as a commentator today, as he was compelled into semi-retirement attributable to a congenital coronary heart concern found again in 2012.
Hardy – who was not too long ago 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 shocking UFC Welterweight title eliminator with Mike Swick. And Hardy duly received the battle to earn a shot at champion Georges St. Pierre.
The native of Nottingham misplaced that title shot however put up a superb battle and lasted the space 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 received again on the profitable observe in 2012 with wins over Duane Ludwig and Amir Sadollah. But as beforehand acknowledged, his uncommon coronary heart situation then compelled him into early retirement.
Despite this, although, Hardy’s achievements stay a number of the finest from a British fighter within the UFC and positively warrant him a spot on this record.
#2 Leon Edwards (UFC document: 10-2-1)
When Leon Edwards debuted within the UFC in 2014 in a forgettable loss to Claudio Silva, no one would’ve predicted that he’d be thought of top-of-the-line Welterweights on this planet only a few years later.
But that’s precisely what Rocky now could be, and with maybe one or two extra wins, he might 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 perfect 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 following title shot had he defeated Belal Muhammad earlier this month. But the battle resulted in a No Contest – leaving his subsequent battle a serious query mark.
However, no different British UFC fighter has put collectively a profitable streak fairly like his, making him a snug quantity two on this record.
#1 Michael Bisping (UFC document: 20-9)
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 an enormous push from the UFC’s brass from the off. He received 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 always creating skillset based mostly round his sharp putting, 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 character additionally helped to construct his repute 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 top-of-the-line fighters to by no means declare UFC gold, as he frequently fell quick earlier than gaining a title shot.
That all modified in 2016, although.
Bisping was thrown right into a battle with UFC Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold on late discover, changing the injured Chris Weidman.
And in one of many largest upsets in UFC historical past, he knocked Rockhold out within the first spherical to develop 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.