The UFC has done a good job finding and promoting talent of the U.K. fighters. Several of England’s best have fared very well in the UFC. Michael Bisping is the most notable of the bunch. Bisping won the Ultimate Fihgter 3 and has since established himself as one of the world’s best middleweights. Meanwhile, Dan Hardy became the first English fighter to contend for a title in the UFC. John Hathaway looks like a potential star. Brad Pickett is doing well in the WEC. Terry Etim is a force in the UFC lightweight division. Recent signee Paul Sass has a lot of hype. Ultimate Fighter winner Ross Pearson and runner-up Andre Winner are doing great in the UFC as well. So, whose next?
1. Jimi Manuwa – He is my pick for the best up and comer out of the U.K. This middleweight just notched a big win over Valentino Petreucu. I really expect him to be in the UFC soon. He may need another win because the UFC likes to absorb talent for their U.K. shows. Manuwa could be a serious threat.
2. Joseph Duffy – The Irish lightweight is on the 12th season of the Ultimate Fighter. Time will tell how he did. Sherdog already hailed him as the #2 Euro prospect. I think Duffy could be legit. If he were to win the Ultimate Fighter he would become an instant star in his native Ireland.
3. Lanus Jones – Keep an eye on Lanus Jones who sports an unblemished 7-0 record. I believe that this light heavyweight fighter could end up in a big promotion in America as well.
4. Jim Wallhead – He was slated to comepte in Bellator’s season 3 welterweight tournament, but a heavy fog over England grounded his flight and his Bellator hopes. Wallhead was also overlooked for TUF 9 and labveled as “too experienced”. I am not sure what “Judo Jim’s” contract status is with Bellator, but I do expect to hear more of him.
5. Mark Adams – The WEC has not been as intentional as the UFC on picking up U.K. talent, but Brad Pickett’s success at bantamweight may open a door for England best featherweight prospect. Adams is an impressive 6-0 in his career and I would not be shocked to see the WEC come calling soon. Adams’ win over Alan Omer really impressed.
6. Dave Hill – Another fast rising featherweight prospect in England. Hill is 9-0 and has turned some heads. Hill has won 7 of his 9 fights by submission.
7. Tom Watson – I don’t ever expect Tom “Kong” Watson to be a champion in a prime organization, but I do think he can compete with some of the best. Watson is on an eight fight win streak which includes recent wins over Matt Horwich (who just beat Thales Leites) and Travis Galbraith.
8. Mark Scanlon – One of the best of England’s welterweight prospects is 5-0. I believe TUF could be a good route for Scanlon if the UFC elects to tap into the welterweight talent pool for season 13.
9. Eugene Fadiora – a hard punching welterweight who boasts a 9-0 record. I believe he is a real name to keep an eye on.
10. Martin Thompson – His 8-4 record may not impress, but the “Ox” is just 24 years old.
11. Mick and Rob Sinclair – This pair of brothers are on the rise. Keep an eye on both of them.