Reflecting on the year so far it’s fair to say that 2010 has been verging on a complete disaster for the UFC’s UK contingent.
Their bad run of results in high profile bouts began back in February as Michael Bisping dropped a unanimous decision loss to Wanderlei Silva in the co-main of UFC 110 in Australia.
The very next month Dan Hardy’s dreams of defeating Georges St.Pierre to become the UK’s first UFC champion failed as he was completely dominated en-route to a five round decision loss.
In April UFC 112 saw highly regarded prospect Terry Etim fall to his first defeat in five fights against Rafael Dos Anjos. At the same event TUF 9’s Nick Osipczak also lost for the first time in the UFC after starting promisingly with two wins.
Remarkably the Brit’s run of bad luck was far from over. Next up was Paul Daley who went from competing with Josh Koscheck for the No.1 contender spot at welterweight and a coaching role on TUF 12, to being handed both a decision loss and his UFC walking papers after sucker-punching his opponent after the bell at UFC 113.
Skipping forward to UFC 118 another promising prospect Andre Winner lost after Nick Lentz chose to hug him for three rounds in one of the most boring fight’s of the year, while Osipczak also suffered his second defeat of the year.
Finally we arrived at last night’s UFC Fight Night 22 event with TUF season 9 winner Ross Pearson remaining one of the few bright spots for the British Isles with a perfect 3-0 record in the octagon. Despite a solid start Pearson was over-run by Cole Miller in the second round, finally losing by rear-naked choke.
And so a year that promised a lot for the UK has delivered little. Perhaps one of the only bright spots throughout this period has been John Hathaway produced a stand-out display against Diego Sanchez at UFC 114, handing the former TUF season 1 winner one of his most humbling defeats to date. The win took Hathaway to four fights without defeat in the UFC and 14-0 overall.
Next month at UFC 120 in London, England on October 16th the Brit’s will now look to stage a comeback with Michael Bisping, Dan Hardy and John Hathway all featuring on the main card with national pride at stake.
The event will also give fans the first chance to see the new breed of UK up and comers looking to make a name for themselves, including Rob Broughton (14-5-1), Paul Sass (10-0), Kurt Warburton (6-1) and Tom Blackledge (10-6) who all make their debuts in the prelims.
The last time the UFC came to the UK at UFC 105 last November six out of the nine Brits on the card emerged victorious. There’s no doubt that the weight of expectation will be on the home fighters shoulder to produce a similar ratio of success on this occasion if they wish to keep up their reputation as an emerging force on the global stage in mixed martial arts.