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British UFC Fighters: A look at Leon Edwards, Tom Aspinall, Paddy Pimblett, Muhammad Mokaev and more

British MMA is perhaps in the best place it’s ever been, with a reigning UFC champion as well as the interim heavyweight champion.

Michael Bisping and Dan Hardy paved the way for British MMA in the late 2000s, with both becoming increasingly prominent in the UFC.

Bisping worked his way up to a middleweight title eliminator, losing to Dan Henderson, while Dan Hardy on the back of four straight wins earned the dubious prize of spending 25 minutes in the cage with Georges St-Pierre.

It looked like England’s wait for a UFC champion would go on for the foreseeable future, but stepping up to fight Luke Rockhold on short notice, Bisping became the first champion from these shores in 2016.

We’re looking at the profiles and records of some of the top British fighters on the MMA scene.

Leon Edwards

Record: 22-3 (1 NC)
Next fight: Belal Muhammad (UFC 304, 27th July)

Where else can we start but with the reigning welterweight champion and top five pound-for-pound fighter Leon Edwards?

‘Rocky’ was made to wait for his title shot after a sequence of events that were largely out of his control, but in one of the UFC’s all-time great upsets, Edwards knocked out P4P #1 Kamaru Usman to capture the title, defending it the following year.

Edwards comprehensively beat Colby Covington in December and will defend against Belal Muhammad in Manchester at UFC 304.

Tom Aspinall

Record: 14-3
Next fight: Curtis Blaydes (UFC 304, 27th July)

What was one of the UFC's most agonising hard-luck stories has turned into one of its biggest fairytale stories.

Tom Aspinall, a win away from being in the title picture, suffered a devastating knee injury that threatened his MMA career seconds into his bout with Curtis Blaydes. 

Previous on a tear through the heavyweight division, Aspinall beat Andrei Arlovski, Sergey Spivak and Alexander Volkov, earning Performance of the Night honours each time, spending an average of four minutes in the Octagon.

After beating Marcin Tybura on his comeback fight inside 73 seconds in July, Aspinall, faced Sergei Pavlovich for the interim heavyweight title at UFC 295, winning via first-round knockout, setting up a potential dream fight with Jon Jones next year.

Aspinall will have to avenge his only defeat in the UFC in order to realise that dream, however, having been pitted against Blaydes at UFC 304.

Arnold Allen

Record: 19-3
Next fight: Giga Chikadze (UFC 304, 27th July)

The UFC featherweight division may well be gatekept by Alexander Volkanovski until he decides he’s no longer interested, but Arnold Allen was perhaps one fight away from a bid to the crown earlier in the year before losing to Max Holloway.

There’s no shame in losing to Holloway, of course, a man whose last three defeats have all come to Volkanovski, such is the Aussie’s dominance in the division, but it’s a big setback for Allen.

This was unfortunately followed up by a second straight loss, being out-pointed by Movsar Evloev, but Allen will get the chance to avenge that defeat when facing Giga Chikadze.

Paddy Pimblett

Record: 21-3
Next fight: Bobby Green (UFC 304, 27th July)

Announcing himself to UFC fans against Luigi Vendramini, Paddy Pimblett took a series of massive punches before responding with his own to record a knockout win on his UFC debut.

His larger-than-life personality and unfiltered, honest interviews have made him something of a cult hero amongst many MMA fans, winning Performance of the Night bonuses in his first three UFC fights.

He did come under pressure in his most recent fight against Jared Gordon, however, winning via a controversial decision, and has been out of the Octagon since.

Pimblett made a big step up in calibre in his next fight, taking on veteran Tony Ferguson at UFC 296 on 16th December, winning via decision, and will face Bobby Green at UFC 304.

Molly McCann

Record: 14-6
Next fight: Bruna Brasil

The Bonnie to Paddy Pimblett’s Clyde, Molly McCann has struck up a close friendship with her fellow Liverpudlian, with the pair seen supporting each other during fights.

McCann was riding the crest of a wave with three straight wins in the UFC, two of which came in front of a boisterous London crowd in 2022, both of which earned Meatball Performance of the Night honours.

After making the step up in class against Erin Blanchfield, McCann took a hiatus from MMA on the back of the submission defeat, returning against Julija Stoliarenko in July and losing by another first-round submission before bouncing back with a win over Diana Belbita in February 2024.

McCann will return to the Octagon at UFC 304, taking on Bruna Brasil.

Muhammad Mokaev

Record: 12-0 (1 NC)
Next fight: Manel Kape (UFC 304, 27th July)

Muhammad Mokaev has perhaps the most fascinating story of any English fighter. Fighting out of Manchester but born in Dagestan, Mokaev looks like the prototypical Dagestani; getting his opponents to the ground and finding any way to make them submit. 

In his six UFC fights, he’s won four by submission with four different methods; neck crank, armbar, guillotine and arm triangle. 

He extended his winning record to 12-0 against Alex Perez, moving up to #7 in the flyweight rankings, and may only be a year from a title shot.

Michael 'Venom' Page

Record: 22-2
Next fight: TBC

After 23 professional MMA fights, Michael 'Venom' Page was finally signed by the UFC.

Not given the easiest introduction to life in the Octagon, Page took on relative UFC veteran Kevin Holland at UFC 299. Holland, still only 31, had 20 UFC fights under his belt going into the contest, but the #13-ranked welterweight was no match for Page, who won by unanimous decision.

Paul Craig

Record: 17-8-1
Next fight: TBC

Scotland’s Paul Craig cracked the light heavyweight top-10 after a fourth straight win in the UFC, impressively beating Nikita Krylov by submission at UFC London in March last year, but back-to-back losses have jeopardised his top-10 status and his following fight – back in London – was against #14-ranked middleweight Andre Muniz.

Craig won via second-round TKO and is now ranked #12 in the middleweight rankings.

Craig's was beaten last November by Brendan Allen, following up with a second consecutive defeat against Caio Borralho at UFC 301.

Brendan Loughnane

Record: 28-5
Next fight: TBC

Though not a UFC fighter, having missed out on a contract with The Ultimate Fighter in 2012, Brendan Loughnane rose to prominence in the MMA world as part of the PFL promotion in 2022, winning the featherweight tournament with a TKO win over Bubba Jenkins.

He started the 2023 season with a win over former UFC bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes, but lost in June to Jesus Pinedo.

His first fight in the 2024 season saw him beat Pedro Carvalho in the first round, with his next fight still to be confirmed.

Joanne Wood

Record: 17-8
Next fight: N/A

On the back of three straight losses, Joanne Wood outpointed Luana Carolina to win by split decision at UFC 286 in March 2023.

Almost a year out from her last fight, the Scot beat Maryna Moroz by split decision at UFC 299, before announcing her retirement afterwards.

Darren Till

Record: 18-5-1
Next fight: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (20th July)

Once touted as English MMA’s next big thing, Darren Till had a Conor McGregor-esque swagger about him and seemingly had the fists to match.

Unbeaten in his first 18 MMA fights, Till recorded a destructive knockout of Donald Cerrone before outpointing former welterweight contender Stephen Thompson, earning a shot at Tyron Woodley’s belt.

Till would be submitted by Woodley, before being devastatingly knocked out in front of a home crowd by Jorge Masvidal.

Though Till would beat Kelvin Gastelum on a step up to middleweight, he’d lose his next three fights and has since been released by the UFC. 

Till is, however, set to return to combat sports with a boxing match on the Jake Paul v Mike Tyson undercard, taking on former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr at 190lbs over six three-minute rounds.

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