Tensions grew in the midst of to a deep and meaningful conversation about whether a Jaffa cake is a biscuit or a cake. Testosterone was apparent. To calm the situation down, we moved the discussion to Mixed Martial Arts and the UFC. Firing a few questions around when one crept through.
Who are the top five British fighters to tread the boards of the biggest organisation in of this sport. Wow, what a question….a golf clap is needed.
We Brits have a plethora of champions in combat sports, especially in boxing with Lennox Lewis, Joe Calzaghe, John Conteh and Rocky Hatton carrying the torch. But with the UFC being twenty-five years old and created in another country—who in the UK would be our top five. Well, here they are:
Ian ‘The Machine’ Freeman
First, the pioneer of U.K. MMA, a fella who’s held belts all over Europe mixed it up in all cages including the UFC, when UK MMA was a galaxy far far away from where it is today. He was a heavyweight who smashed opened doors with his no-nonsense attitude. Ian ‘The Machine’ Freeman is his name, a beast who defeated a future heavyweight champion Frank Mir at UFC 36. After the furore of this so-called upset, Freeman continued his UFC career with a draw at UFC 43 against Vernon White and a defeat to Andrei Arlovski at UFC 40. The Machine’s UFC record fell to 3-3-1.
Making a comeback in 2013, at a Legends of MMA card in Doncaster defeating a Mr. Ricco Rodriguez, ‘The Machine’ continued training the next generation at his Machine MMA in the North of England.
Next, a man like ‘The Machine’ trained his heart out in a sport when no one knew what it was. Former UFC Middleweight Champion and winner of the Ultimate Fighter Season three, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping, leaves his soul in the octagon.
A never back down attitude with a huge dollop of trash talk made fans either love him or hate him—there is no in between. A former kickboxer moved to the mat and battled his way to become Cage Rage Light Heavyweight champion. Bisping then moved to the States to compete in the Ultimate Fighter, defeating Josh Haynes in the finale.
That was in 2003 and Bisping’s been with the company ever since. Battling Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans, Vito Belfort and Georges St Pierre, he’s faced the top of the game and achieved a championship reign.
In the same ilk as Bisping, Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett, a former Cage Rage Lightweight champion, has an attitude to fighting is like no one else.
This Chas and Dave fan signed to WEC, a Zuffa owned promotion of Featherweight, Bantamweight and a Lightweight division not featured on the main UFC roster. Picket battled with Scotty Jorgensen, Thomas Almeida, Michael McDonald, Neil Seery and, Mighty Mouse’ Demetrious Johnson during his tenure there.
DJ, the current UFC GOAT, has only lost twice in his career. Once to Dominick Cruz, the other to Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett. In March 2017 at UFC London, Brad Picket retired. His focus is to build for the future, training the new breed; he is the man behind current Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion Nathaniel ‘The Prospect’ Wood, a fighter UFC fans may want to keep their eye on.
Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy
In the days when fighters got title shots for going 4 or 5 fights undefeated is the moment the UK had their first fighter to get a title shot in the UFC. This was for the welterweight belt. The man was Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy, a former Team Rough House starlet who tore up Cage Warriors by becoming their Welterweight champion. Signed to the UFC in 2008, ‘The Outlaw’ went on a tear, winning his first four bouts and finishing Mike Swick for the title eliminator to face GSP for the belt at UFC 111.
The bout went full 5 rounds as GSP continued his reign with a dominant performance, and the start of Dan’s four-fight losing streak. It wasn’t long before he was back on the win column in 2012 he defeated Amir Sadollah. Hardy was diagnosed with a heart condition meaning time off from fighting was essential. Hardy’s now one of the top analysts of the sport. Thriving with his UFC breakdown of bouts as he carries an insight and knowledge of this sport that is second to none and still ‘The Outlaw’ may enter the octagon one more time.
Finally. A fighter whose future is bright in the Lightweight/Featherweight division. 24-year-old Suffolk fighter ‘Almighty’ Arnold Allen made his debut UFC Fight Night 2015 at short notice against Alan Omer. The Almighty one took the win via submission. Arnold Allen’s UFC record is 3-0 with wins over Omer, Yaotzin Meza and Makwan Amirkhani. He’s tasted defeat once in his rising career at Cage Warriors 69 in 2014. Training at Tri-Star, one of the best MMA gym’s in the world, will enhance skills this guy already has. Seeing him fight on numerous occasions, I can tell you first hand that he’s exciting, he’ll bang with anyone, but can finish an opponent like I can finish a Galaxy chocolate family bar. Anyway, back to the Jaffa Cake being a biscuit…………