UK fighter Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley announced his arrival in the UFC last Saturday in some style with a first round demolition of one of the Welterweight divisions top contenders Martin Kampmann. With his impressive stand-up skills Daley is certainly a welcome addition to the UFC but should he now be considered the UK’s top fighter in the organisation, or are there others ahead of him in the pecking order? In this article https://mmainsight.com looks at the five UK fighters most likely to succeed inside the octagon.
Before we get to the top 5, a few honorable mentions.
Firstly it’s hard to ignore Paul ‘Relentless’ Taylor, who despite featuring mainly on the undercard of UFC events has managed to pick up three ‘Fight Of The Night’ awards thanks to his dynamic and exciting approach to every single fight.
With a 3-3 record in the organisation Taylor has some work to do to become of the top contenders in the welterweight division but he is undoubtedly a threat to anyone who stands across the cage from him.
Up and coming fighter John ‘Hitman’ Hathaway is another of the UK’s most promising young talents. The 22 year old turned professional in 2006 and is currently undefeated after twelve fights, including two wins in the UFC. His last win over Rick Story has now become more meaningful considering his opponent’s impressive ‘Fight of The Night’ victory at last weekends UFC 103.
Hathaway has shown maturity in his performances that belie his youth and his next fight against fellow brit Paul Taylor will indicate whether he is ready to take the next step up the ladder.
Of course a new crop of UK fighters has recently parachuted into the UFC by way of the Ultimate Fighter reality show. Ross Pearson, winner of the Lightweight section of the show looks to be a solid, hard working Lightweight that lives up to his nickname ‘The Bulldog’ but it is still too early to tell if he can make a real impact in the division. He won’t get an easy road however, his next opponent is Aaron Riley.
James Wilks won the welterweight section of TUF 9 and his performances on the show were notable first for defeating Che Mills, another talented UK prospect, and secondly for a memorable fight in which he knocked out Frank Lester’s front teeth!
His most impressive win however came in the finale where he showed some excellent ground skills, dominating a seemingly helpless Demarques Johnson on his way to a first round submission victory.
With a professional record of 6-2 Wilks is relatively inexperienced for a 31 year old fighter but has shown potential and it will be interesting to see how he fares against the always tough Matt Brown in his next bout.
With that out the way, heres’ the top 5…
5. Paul Kelly
With a record of 3-1 inside the octagon Paul Kelly has made a solid start to his UFC career. His first victory against Paul Taylor was a three round classic that found it’s way onto the UFC’s Ultimate 100 Greatest Fights show.
Following a submission loss to Marcus Davies at UFC89 Kelly has rebounded, notching up a dominant win over Troy Mandaloniz and then surviving a submission enslaught to claim a win over Rolando Delgado at UFC99.
The latter fight was his first at Lightweight and he will now be looking to make further inroads into the division with a win against Denis Siver at UFC 105.