Tom Duquesnoy is set for the UFC following his impressive run with BAMMA culminating in the Frenchman holding both the bantamweight and featherweight championship.
We take a look at five potential opponents to welcome the highly rated 23-year-old into the octagon.
Damian Stasiak (10-3)
Polish submission specialist Damian Stasiak could be a potential fight for Duquesnoy at 135lbs following on from his armlock victory over Davey Grant at UFC 204 in October. Stasiak has recently dropped down to the bantamweight division after his loss to Yaotzin Meza and has since bounced back with two victories over the previously named Grant and Filip Pejic. This would make for an interesting match up!
Joe Soto (17-5)
Joe Soto was signed by the UFC to feature on an undercard fight at UFC 177 against Anthony Birchak but due to an injury to Renan Barao, found himself fighting on his UFC debut for the bantamweight championship against TJ Dillashaw. Soto competed with Dillashaw up until the fifth round when he was knocked out but made a good impression on his debut. Two losses to Birchak and Michinori Tanaka later and with his UFC record standing at 0-3, he must have thought that his UFC career might just be over. He was given a chance and has managed to put a couple of wins together over Chris Beal and most recently Marco Beltran. Stylistically this would make a good match up to test Duquesnoy’s level on the biggest stage.
Brett Johns (13-0)
Wales’ own Brett Johns got his UFC career off to a great start after defeating Kwan Ho Kwak at UFC Belfast and is one of the best bantamweights that Europe has to offer with notable wins over both Kwak and James Brum. With Johns fighting in Cage Warriors and Titan FC prior to the UFC, they have been kept apart until now where they could potentially lock horns. Take my money!
Taylor Lapilus (11-2)
What about an all-French affair in the octagon? To my knowledge, it has never happened before in the UFC (correct me if I’m wrong!) and Lapilus vs Duquesnoy would make for an interesting scrap. MMA was officially banned in France by the French Sports Ministry in October 2016. The UFC may not still have the desire to bring the octagon to France in a similar way in which they finally got it to New York for UFC 205 but two French stars may help the case to get the sport’s ban lifted in the country. These two would go at it!
Artem Lobov (13-12)
Should Duquesnoy step up to 145lbs, which may potentially pose an easier path to rise through than the currently ultra competitive bantamweight division then maybe he should lock horns with The Russian Hammer. Lobov and Duquesnoy would be quite a marketable fight on a Fight Night card based in Europe and would probably attract a good amount of viewers with Lobov having a lot of support from his native Russia and his adopted home of Ireland. Would Duquesnoy be the slight favourite in this fight… I’ll let you decide!