We are now almost a month into 2016 and it’s another year in which fighters across the world will be keen to push on and get themselves signed to the UFC, or at least close enough to be on the radar of the biggest promotion in mixed martial arts.
This week #WHOATV will take a look at fighters from various European regions that we believe should already be on that radar and our first stop is……………Scotland!
2015 was a big year for Scottish MMA and Robert Whiteford, Stevie Ray and Joanna Calderwood led the charge in the UFC, but there was also some huge performances on the regional scenes also which are definitely worth a mention.
So without further ado here is our “Five Scottish fighters for the UFC to sign in 2016” list and as always let us know your thoughts/comments/feedback on our facebook and twitter account.
Graham “Afterburner” Turner (25-9 MMA)
Featherweight Turner has a lot of experience inside the cage and some big wins over some top names in Europe including Nad Narimani & Ashleigh Grimshaw and holds sixteen of his twenty-five wins by TKO. Turner is 7-2 in his last nine fights and has only gone the distance once in those bouts. I would be disappointed if the UFC return to Scotland in 2016 and Graham Turner was not on the card and think that Turner could do no harm in picking up another win on the regional scene in the meantime against a solid European name to further enhance his chances.
Paul “Bearjew” Craig (8-0 MMA)
2015 was a huge year for Paul Craig who shot to fame on the European scene with the help of BAMMA, picking up two back to back wins and earning the BAMMA Light Heavyweight Gold against Marcin Lazarz. Craig holds seven of his eight wins by submission and the other one by TKO proving he is a fighter always looking for the finish. The UFC Light Heavyweight division is top heavy with American names and there is certainly space for not only the fighting skills of Craig but also someone with a great personality and charisma which he also has in abundance. He ticks all of the boxes for sure and I think 2016 could be an even bigger year for “Bearjew”.
Martin Delaney (11-1 MMA)
Delaney has lost only once in his twelve professional fights in a decision loss to Damir Hadzovic and in my eyes is definitely on the cusp of getting the call for the UFC. Record alone certainly puts him near the top of the pile and the Dinky Ninja has stayed very active in 2015 picking up another three wins. If the UFC are returning to Scotland in 2016 (not announced at time of writing) then in my eyes Delaney should look to stay fighting fit and I think that he stands a very good chance of getting a call up to the big league.
Chris Bungard (5-1 MMA)
Bungard may be one of the least experienced name on the list, however, is one of the most exciting up and coming Lightweights in Britain in my eyes. The Scottish Hit Squad fighter has only been competing since late 2013 and has racked up five stoppage wins, with the only red on his record coming by decision early in 2015. Bungard has another bout lined up for at On Top Promotions against tough Craig McIntosh (3-2) and a win over McIntosh without any injuries could line him up nicely for a European card in 2016.
Iain Freenan (5-0 MMA)
Lightweight Freenan brings an undefeated record to the table and we all know how much the UFC love pushing an undefeated fighter. Freenan has only been the distance on one occasion which was in his last bout at Headhunters FC which topped off a great year for the Higher Level Martial Arts fighter. Freenan is definitely one to watch regardless of if it’s for a spot in the UFC or not and I feel as though 2016 will be a big year for the Lightweight and expect his name to be known across the European scene at a very minimum come this time next year.