Over the years, British MMA fighters have gained a huge reputation amongst some of the biggest names in Mixed Martial Arts.
In this article, I will be taking a look at my Top 6 British MMA Fighters Of All Time and analysing their careers, from the highs to the lows.
6. Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa
Jimi Manuwa was one of the most highly touted prospects coming out of the United Kingdom due to the power he had in both hands, Manuwa finished his professional MMA career with a record of 17-6. Impressively, 88% of his victories came by way of TKO/KO, making him a firm fan-favourite.
During the years of 2008-2013, Manuwa managed to rack up an incredible fourteen-bout win streak. Ten of those fourteen victories came in the very first round proving just how much of a threat the Englishman was.
Manuwa received his first big test against title contender Alexander Gustafsson at UFC Fight Night 37. Unfortunately, Manuwa would come up short for the first time in his professional career, but, ultimately, would take home a Fight of The Night bonus despite the result.
Manuwa would go on to fight another eight times in his professional career, winning three and losing five. However, when you look at the calibre of opponents that Manuwa has been toe-to-toe with, it’s easy to see why he demands a place in the Top 6.
Notable victories: Jan Blachowicz, Ovince St. Preux and Corey Anderson
5. Paul “Semtex” Daley
Paul Daley feels like he has been around forever and is still going as strong as ever, as he rides a two-bout win streak. Daley has a current professional record of (42-17-2), 79% of those victories have come by way TKO/KO for the hard-hitting Englishman.
Daley started his professional career way back in 2003 and is one of the most powerful and gifted strikers to have ever come out of the United Kingdom, delivering knockouts in almost all of his victories and usually in brutal fashion.
As well as displaying incredible knockout power, Daley is also well renowned for his trash-talking abilities. This makes him an extremely interesting fighter to follow because “Semtex” usually backs up all of his talk.
Daley left the UFC after going 2-1 in the promotion but ultimately lost his place on the roster after throwing a shot at Josh Koscheck following their bout at UFC 113. Despite that, Daley has still managed to fight some of the best MMA has to offer with bouts against Nick Diaz, Tyron Woodley, Jake Shields, and many more.
Notable victories: Jorge Masvidal, Duane Ludwig, Martin Kampmann and Dustin Hazelett.
4. Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson
Ross Pearson won the ninth series of The Ultimate Fighter after beating fellow Brit, Andre Winner. Pearson finished his professional career with a record of 20-17 with seven victories coming by way of TKO/KO, five coming by way of submission and eight coming by way of decision.
Pearson established himself as one of the most consistently classy and entertaining strikers in the UFC’s lightweight – and occasionally featherweight – divisions.
“The Real Deal” was never afraid of going against top opposition and did so multiple times against the likes of Cub Swanson, Edson Barboza, Diego Sanchez, Al Laquinta, and many more.
Notable victories: Junior Assuncao, Paul Felder, Dennis Siver and Ryan Couture.
3: Brad “One Punch” Pickett
Brad Pickett revolutionized the way British fighters are perceived. For many years, the one major knock on British fighters has been for the lack of wrestling skills. This is understandable given that both Olympic disciplines (freestyle and Greco-Roman) are virtually non-existent on our shores. But Pickett proudly bucks that trend and has repeatedly bested experienced American wrestlers at their own game.
Pickett finished his career with a record of 25-14, seven of those victories coming by way of TKO/KO, ten victories by way of submission and eight coming by way of decision.
Pickett managed to woo fans on both sides of the Atlantic with his all-action style that saw him earn an impressive five UFC ‘Fight of The Night’ rewards.
Notable victories: Demetrious Johnson, Damacio Page, Neil Seery and Francisco Riviera Jr.
2: Dan ‘The Outlaw’ Hardy
Hailing from Nottingham – hence the nickname. Hardy earned himself a title shot at arguably the greatest fighter of all time in Georges St-Pierre back in 2010. This was following his 4-0 run in the UFC welterweight division in 2008-2009.
Hardy received universal plaudits following his ever-so gutsy performance against the champion, going the distance despite nearly being finished on multiple occasions.
Unfortunately, Hardy had to finish his fighting career tragically early due to being diagnosed with a heart condition, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, in 2013. ‘The Outlaw’ finished with a final record of 20-10, thirteen of those victories coming by way of TKO/KO, three coming by way of submission and nine coming by way of decision.
Following his retirement, ‘The Outlaw’ now provides us with unique and articulate insights into the fight game with his new role as a UFC commentator.
Notable victories: Duane Ludwig, Rory Markham, Marcus Davis and Mike Swick.
1: Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping
The Lancashire fighter made his name by winning the third season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2006. Since then Bisping has gone on to compete in 28 UFC contests, winning nineteen and losing nine.
Bisping was best known for being a polarising figure, winding up opponents with his forthright, cheeky but always tongue-in-cheek pre-fight banter.
Bisping has never been afraid to fight anybody the UFC put in front of him, which is evident even in defeats to Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Tim Kennedy and Luke Rockhold.
The now-UFC Hall of Famer would eventually get his hands on UFC gold in his rematch with Luke Rockhold, winning via TKO in the very first round.
Bisping would finish his career with an impressive record of 30-9. Eighteen of those victories came by way of TKO/KO, two coming by way of submission, and ten coming by way of decision.
Notable victories: Anderson Silva, Luke Rockhold, Chris Leben, Dan Henderson and Thales Leites.
Honourable mentions: Ian Freeman (20-7-1), Darren Till (18-2-1), Norman Parke (28-6-1) and Linton Vassell (20-8).
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