Whilst most of the spotlight across the MMA scene is mainly focused on the professionals, it is the youth of the sport which will be providing the longevity of Mixed Martial Arts for years to come. With this is mind I am keen to highlight some of the great talent that the UK has across its amateur scene with a focus on those fighters competing at the age of 18 years old and younger.
With varying records across the selection and a variety of different amateur categories represented here is my list of under 18 fighters to keep your eyes on, now and in the years to come;
Jake George (17 years old) @KingGeorgeMMA
Welterweight Jake “King” George trains out of London based Team Titan and Double K Gym alongside some of the most notable names across the #UKMMA scene. The 17 year old has been training MMA for five years and is ranked as number one junior Welterweight. Jake is a blue belt in BJJ and multiple time BJJ and NoGi Champion. He fought on Contenders East Anglia early in his career and most recently fought on Warrior Fight Series at York Hall. At just over 6 feet tall Jake currently competes at Welterweight but it will be interesting to see if he sticks to this weight as his body continues to change and grow. Training with the likes of Jake Bostwick, Ashleigh Grimshaw and Nathaniel Woods on a daily basis will definitely help Jake hone his skills and I suspect he will be a familiar name across the #UKMMA scene in the next coming years.
Arran Cottam (17 years old)
Training out of Blackburn Predators under the tutelage of ex Ground Control Champion Rob Freedman and striking coach Shaun Litherland 17 year old Cottam has amassed a record of 2-3. Cottam has been training for just over a year and trains alongside fellow stand out Chris Price and John James Young to name but a few. His next bout takes place on 14th November for UK Fighting Championships in Blackburn and it will be very interesting to follow this young fighter in the coming months.
Chris Price (18 years old)
Another stand out fighter from Blackburn Predators (no I don’t have an affliction with the gym before you ask) is young Chris Price. Price holds a 2-1 record with two first round submission wins in under a minute. Price has been training for about three years but had to take some time away from the sport following a horrific leg injury he suffered when he was only fifteen years old during an Amateur C fight. Since returning Price has been competing at Amateur A rules fighting at Featherweight and I suspect it will not be long until we see Price move to the professional league.
Cory McKenna (16 years old) @corydonttap
Cory McKenna has been training at BKK Fighters for three years and has a 2-0 record at Straw weight. Training with the likes of #UKMMA veterans like Jack Mason and John Maguire has seen Cory’s overall game continue to improve and she is focused on achieving a strong all round game. She most recently won the adult woman’s blue belt British NoGi and has two British and an English Muay Thai Title and a 2-0 boxing record. She has shown her game improve and the future really is her oyster at such a young age with such a strong skill set.
Lone’er Kavanagh (16 years old)
16 year old Lone’er has been training in martial arts since he was eight which is perhaps unsurprising given that his parents both met doing martial arts. His first name is Chinese for Little Dragon and shows just how much his family has ties to martial arts. The young fighter who fights out of Team Titan alongside Jake George has a 3-0 K1 record and a 0-1 MMA record. Kavanagh has fought for Fury MMA and WCMMA and fights at Bantamweight. Kavanagh has a kickboxing background and got into MMA at the age of fourteen and with his willingness to pick up new skills will definitely be one to watch in the future.