With the huge announcement that British MMA star Darren Till is set to headline UFC Liverpool in his hometown against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, British MMA fans are hugely excited about the prospect of seeing more British fighters being signed to the UFC to fight on the Liverpool card and beyond.
Here are five fighters I believe we could see fight on the UFC’s maiden visit to Liverpool and beyond, and why the UFC would want to sign that particular fighter.
Just a quick note, Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett will not be included as he has been signed to a new multi-fight deal with Cage Warriors, and will headline Cage Warriors 96 on September 1st.
5) Nathaniel “The Prospect” Wood
Wood is currently the Cage Warriors Bantamweight champion and holds a 13-3 record. The London born fighter is on a five fight finishing streak, with his last fight agianst Luca Iovine at Cage Warriors 92, lasting under a minute, as Wood knocked out the Italian fighter.
Wood brings a very aggressive style to the cage, showing that not only is he a formidable striker, but that when the fight goes to the ground he has the skills to finish it too.
I believe that Wood would be an absolutely brilliant signing for the UFC, and a potential opponent for him on the Liverpool card could be Eddie Wineland.
Wineland is 23-12-1 in his professional career, and hasn’t fought since April last year, when he lost to John Dodson.
This fight would give Wood an opportunity to show UFC bosses that he is a star for the near future, by beating a more experienced fighter, as well as giving Wineland a chance to get back to winning ways.
Along with this, Wood has proclaimed in interviews that within a year he will be in the top ten of the UFC’s Bantamweight division, and fights in the future against TJ Dillashaw, Cody Garbrandt and Dominic Cruz would be hugely exciting fights to watch, and more importantly, would sell tickets.
4) Colin Fletcher
This is a sort of left field pick for me to be really honest. Colin “Freakshow” Flecther has fought on UFC programming before, most notably on ‘The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes’.
The welterweight fighter is now getting into the twilight of his career, and currently fights for BAMMA, with a 16-9 record.
The reason for this pick is , and no disrespect to Fletcher, he is a fighter I have admired and loved watch for years, just on Fletcher’s name value alone. Hardcore British MMA and UFC fans will recognise Fletcher and would love to see him fight one more time in the UFC, and a UFC event not too far away from his hometown would be the perfect place for that one off fight.
Personally, I am highly doubtful that the UFC would sign Fletcher, as not only is he signed to a multi-fight deal with BAMMA, but he has been up and down in his last few fights and then there’s the small matter of him fighting for Bellator after leaving the UFC and the fact BAMMA has a close affiliation with Bellator.
3) Chris Fishgold
Chris Fishgold has got to be someone the UFC has been looking at signing for a while now. The scouser holds a 17-1-1 record, and is unbeaten in his last eight fights, winning his last seven bouts, and becoming the Cage Warriors Lightweight champion in the process.
Fishgold has demonstrated that he can win fights by KO and by submission, and his cardio speaks for itself, as he has gone the distance multiple times. This has got to be a matchmakers dream fighter, knowing that they can put them up against a variety of different styled fighters, and know that they would put on a great show for the fight.
Personally I think Fishgold would be a great signing for the UFC, all eyes are on the lightweight division with Holloway vs Nurmagomedov this weekend at UFC 223, and adding fresh blood the division would be a smart decision, given that on short notice, Dana White has had to pick a featherweight to step up to lightweight.
A UFC debut against a fighter such as Anthony “Showtime” Pettis on his home turf would be a great start for Fishgold, and would put on a hell of a show for the fans in attendance, with both men demonstrating great striking.
2) “Meatball” Molly McCann
Now with the growing popularity of women’s MMA, and “Meatball” being one of the best British fighters ever, and UFC Liverpool taking place on her doorstep, Dana White would be stupid not to book the Liverpool lass.
McCann is the current Cage Warriors Women’s Flyweight champion, with a 7-1 record. You then have taken into account that McCann has won her last six fights, and that one loss on her record came in only her second professional fight, against a much more experienced opponent.
McCann has expressed that she is eager to fight on the UFC Liverpool card, telling Fightbooth.com: “I’m not on the card.. If I’m asked I’ll be there”.
McCann could easily be matched up against anyone the UFC chooses to put in the cage with her, and the fact that she is a local girl and has a great rapport with fans and the press would make he one of, if not the most marketable fighter on their books.
1) Lee “The Butcher” Chadwick
Now this is the fighter I think that is most likely to be signed up to the UFC for the Liverpool card. Lee “The Butcher” Chadwick is the current Cage Warriors Middleweight champion and holds a 24-13-1 record, meaning he has a lot of cage experience to take with him into the UFC that could make him a formidable fighter in the middleweight division.
Chadwick has been campaigning hard on social media for a chance to fight at UFC Liverpool, and it would be hard to argue as to why he shouldn’t get a shot. He has the experience, he has the rapport with fans and journalists and most of all the middleweight division needs a good shake up following GSP’s second retirement and the Romero vs Rockhold fiasco which was meant to be for the title, but then wasn’t for the title following Romero missing weight.
Chadwick is also a local fighter, and having scousers on the card will get views and sell tickets for the event, and show that there is a big MMA scene in Liverpool.
It’s Chadwick’s time to shine, and British MMA fans know that when the spotlight is on “The Butcher” he can deliver.
Match up wise, Bisping has expressed an interest in fighting on the Liverpool card and has previously said in interviews that he wants to retire on home soil, and this is the perfect chance to do this. The UFC can build up that this is Bisping’s retirement fight and build on the Manc/Scouser rivalry in order to really get fans interested and hyped up for the fight. Also its a win/win for the UFC, if Chadwick wins, they have a new star on their hands, and if he loses, well, he lost to a someone that beat Anderson Silva and was a former UFC champion, the fight sells itself!
Who do you want to see fight at UFC Liverpool, let me know on Twitter @Cobleyreporting