UFC President Dana White has recently announced that Brit Michael Bisping will make his first UFC Middleweight Title defence against fellow opponent Dan Henderson.
The pair initially met at #UFC100, in a fight which saw Henderson knock out Bisping to put an end to their rivalry which had built up during the pairs time as coaches on the UFC’s reality series The Ultimate Fighter.
Since then Bisping has gone on to capture the UFC Middleweight Title and break history in becoming the first British Champion in the UFC. And with rumours bubbling away of the UFC putting the rematch of Bisping Vs Henderson on a show in Manchester, England we look at five fighters who the UFC should definitely look to add if the rumours do come to fruition and the promotion returns to the North of England;
Duquesnoy is arguably one of the hottest prospects in Europe at the moment and is definitely on the UFC’s prospect list. The two weight BAMMA Champion has looked unstoppable against some top European talent and would make a great addition to either the UFC’s Bantamweight or Featherweight division. I think I would personally prefer to see him fight at 135lbs in the UFC but if the UFC come calling you fight at whatever weight they want you at. Duquesnoy really is the complete package and I would like to see the UFC sign him with a full fight camp rather than using him as a late replacement to allow Duquesnoy to prove that he really is one of the best in Europe.
Shortly after Duquesnoy on the prospect list is Paddy Pimblett. And if he isn’t, he should be. Pimblett is such a character and he backs up every single word he speaks inside the cage, with a record of 10-1, he holds eight victories by stoppage. He slipped up ahead of his last bout against Teddy Violet missing the 145lbs weight mark but backed it up inside the cage, stopping Violet in the second round by submission. Pimblett also hails from the north of England (Liverpool) and so a bout in Manchester would be ideal for his local fans, although as we have seen throughout his career, he has a very loyal fan base who would be willing to follow him throughout Europe.
Saul Rogers should already be in the UFC there is no denying this point. The UFC have been forgiving in the past to athletes who have done far worse than have issues with their visa application and having won the Ultimate Fighter reality show (ok he didn’t get to the finals but let’s be honest we all know he would of won it) Rogers needs to be competing at the highest level. He has been inactive in the professional environment since May 2015 and although he stayed active during TUF it’s just not the same. Putting the fact that he is from Manchester aside, Rogers has already proved he is ready to compete in the UFC and he just needs to be given the opportunity to show just how good he is at 155lbs.
Rivalry aside there is no reason that Loughnane should be fighting Eden Newton. Brendan Loughnane should be back in the UFC and competing on the rumoured Manchester fight card. Since his first UFC run, Loughnane has amassed a record of 6-1 (including a razor sharp decision loss to Tom Duquesnoy) and has matured so much as a fighter and person since his run on TUF. He is back to fighting at 155lbs which I personally prefer to see him fighting at and just needs the level of competition that the UFC would be able to offer him to really push him to that next level. Another Manchester based fighter who the promotion would be foolish to skip if they are looking at putting on a card in Manchester.
Undefeated Marc Diakiese made worldwide headlines at #BAMMA25 stopping rival Kane Mousah in just 36 seconds to earn his ninth straight career win and prove that he is one of the best 155lbers in Europe. You could argue that BAMMA World Lonsdale Lightweight Champion Diakiese hasn’t yet fought the crème de la crème of the European Lightweight division but that is through no thought of himself. Diakiese has been calling for big names for the last few months and has defeated three undefeated fighters in his last three fights. Talent wise there is absolutely no reason why the UFC couldn’t put him on a Manchester card and they would certainly have no issues filing up their highlight reel for the “Bonecrusher”.