Like a flock of sheep (C’mon give me at least that one) the Welsh are starting to make their splash on the biggest MMA promotion in the world.
Jack Marshman and Brett Johns have justifiably broken the seal and will both compete on #UFCBelfast, creating history for Welsh MMA and hopefully paving the way for many more to follow.
So with that thought in mind we have taken a look at the raft of MMA talent which has steadily been building in the valleys and compiled a list of fighters who we expect will to see in the UFC in the near future.
“The White Mike Tyson” has looked completely rejuvenated since returning to the cage in early 2015 albeit didn’t do himself any favours missing weight at #BAMMA26 back in September 2016. Phillips is riding a four fight win streak, all by stoppage including a huge win over Cheick Kone. Phillips is now training out of SBG in Ireland which again is another plus in respect of relationships with the promotion and I don’t think it will be long before we see him gracing the UFC’s Octagon and reigning terror on the 185lbs division.
It’s going to be a while (hopefully) before Shore makes the leap to the big leagues but he just can’t do no wrong and I definitely see him making the climb the to the UFC in the next few years. Son of famed Welsh MMA figure Richard Shore, Jack has picked up three stoppage wins in his professional career and has been a figurehead of Cage Warriors Wales. It’s been incredible to see how the youngster has dealt with the pressure of being posted all over social media on UFC Fight Pass and is a real credit to him. You could argue that he is yet to fight an opponent who could really test him, but I think he is being managed very well so far and it won’t be long until he is fighting higher level opponents and still dealing with these as easily as he has with his previous opponents so far.
Pedersen is just a constant workhorse and after a rocky start to his amateur career in 2015 has gone 5-0 in 2016 including a very impressive win over Charlie Howard at Warrior Fight Series 6. Pedersen is a member of the Chris Rees Academy which has helped him no ends and it’s great to see what a family type of environment that team bring on fight night. He now has ten amateur bouts under his belt and I don’t think it will be long before he is knocking on the door to break through into the professional rankings, however, I wouldn’t mind seeing him staying on the amateur scene for at least half of 2017 to just gain some more experience before making that jump. He is definitely someone who has a long career in the sport in my eyes and if he keeps up his winning ways will definitely reach the heights of the big shows in years to come.
Lew Long not just a great fighter, he has a great personality and is very marketable and this definitely plays in his favour when selling him to the bigger shows. Let’s be honest, if he had won his last fight he would have been on a six fight win streak and probably would have been there or there abouts for a UFC contract. But he didn’t, and for Long annoyingly his scheduled bout with Che Mills was cancelled in October due to an injury he sustained. I think he is at the level in which he needs to be fighting guys the calibre of Mills to really test him out. Whilst his immediate future may be uncertain (no fights scheduled at time of writing), the odds are stacked in his favour to one day get into the UFC and with a fair wind behind him I see this happening within the next 18 months.