The Best British UFC Fighters of All Time

British UFC Fighters

We absolutely love making lists of the best athletes in the world of sports. And one thing we love even more is the fact that MMA and UFC are gaining huge popularity around the world every day. Given the presence of both the interim heavyweight champion and the current UFC champion, British MMA and UFCare undoubtedly hugely popular and watched. 

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Dan Hardy and Michael Bisping, who both rose to prominence in the UFC, helped to establish British mixed martial arts in the late 2000s. After four consecutive victories, Dan Hardy gained the dubious distinction of sparring with Georges St-Pierre for 25 minutes, while Bisping fought his way up to a middleweight championship eliminator, where he was defeated by Dan Henderson. Then, when one of the most talented fighters, Justin Bitting, unexpectedly stepped up to face Luke Rockhold in 2016, it appeared as though England might be without a UFC champion for some time to come. 

So, after that brief history, let’s examine the best British fighters in the MMA scene.

Leon Edwards – Reigning Welterweight Champion – Record: 22-3 (1 NC)

Leon Edwards, who is currently ranked among the top five fighters in the world rankings at welterweight, is the ideal person to begin with.

P4P #1 Kamaru Usman was stopped by Edwards in one of the greatest upsets in UFC history, and the following year, Edwards successfully defended his championship against Usman, earning “Rocky” a postponement until his next fight. Edwards defeated Colby Covington handily in December, and at UFC 300, he could try to defend the title.

Darren Till – UFC Middleweight and Welterweight– Record:  18-5-1

Born in Liverpool, Till trained with Astra Fight Team for most of his early MMA career in Brazil. Before moving to South America, he had a 3–0 amateur record in England. In February 2013, he became a professional.

On September 8, 2018, at UFC 228 in Las Vegas, Till was granted the chance to challenge Tyron Woodley for the UFC Welterweight Championship. In the second round, he was submitted by D’Arce choke, which ended his battle. Till’s MMA career began with this defeat. 

It was made public on February 28, 2023, that Till had left the UFC upon asking to be allowed to follow other interests.

Dan Hardy – Welterweight – Record: 25-10-0 (1 NC)

Hardy started studying in martial arts at the age of 5 after being born in Nottingham, England. Taekwondo was Hardy’s first martial art, and at the age of seven, he started participating.

On October 18, 2008, Hardy made his UFC debut at UFC 89, winning by split decision over Akihiro Gono. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome was identified as Hardy’s condition in 2013. Ablation, or cauterizing cardiac tissue to resolve the electrical pathway problem, is a therapy for Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Hardy has declined this treatment since he believes the ailment has never truly caused him any issues.

In October 2018, Hardy finally stated in an interview that he was cleared by doctors to resume fighting.

Paddy Pimblett – Lightweight – Record: 21-3

When Paddy Pimblett made his UFC debut against Luigi Vendramini, he endured a flurry of heavy blows before answering with his own to win via KO.

A cult idol to many MMA fans, he won Performance of the Night bonuses in his first three UFC fights because of his charismatic demeanor and raw, honest interviews. Despite facing pressure during his most recent bout with Jared Gordon, where he prevailed through a contentious decision, he has since left the Octagon.

Jimi Manuwa – Light Heavyweight – Record: 17-6-0

Jimi Manuwa is a former UFC fighter who competed in the UFC Light Heavyweight division before his retirement in 2019. Following a weightlifting accident that resulted in a torn chest muscle, Manuwa started mixed martial arts training in 2007. 

Manuwa only had three professional fights before competing under the UCMMA banner, and in those three fights, he won the title of promotion. More than any other prior or current champion in the organization, he has successfully defended his championship five times. Signing with the promotion in July 2012, Manuwa had declined a contract with the UFC a couple of years before. 

Jack Shore – Featherweight – Record: 17-1-0

Jack Shore is a professional UFC fighter from Wales who presently competes in the Featherweight class. He began competing professionally in 2016. He was the Cage Warriors promotion’s previous bantamweight champion.

On September 28, 2019, Shore made his promotional debut against Nohelin Hernandez at UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Cannonier. The bout was won via submission in the third round. He received a bonus for Performance of the Night for the win. At UFC 286 on March 18, 2023, Shore took on Makwan Amirkhani. He submitted to a rear-naked choke hold in the second round to win the bout. 

At UFC 301 on May 3, 2024, Shore is slated to compete against Joanderson Brito in the bantamweight class.

Tom Aspinall – Heavyweight – Record: 14-3

One of the most excruciating hard-luck tales in UFC history has evolved into one of the organisation’s most popular fairytales.

It was only moments into his fight with Curtis Blaydes when Tom Aspinall, just inches from being in the championship picture, sustained a horrific knee injury that put his MMA future in jeopardy.  Aspinall previously went on a blitz in the heavyweight class, winning Performance of the Night awards each time he defeated Andrei Arlovski, Sergey Spivak, and Alexander Volkov. Aspinall also spent an average of four minutes in the Octagon.

Aspinall won a first-round KO over Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 295 to secure the temporary heavyweight title, paving the way for a possible dream matchup with Jon Jones the following year. In July, Aspinall defeated Marcin Tybura in just 73 seconds during his return fight.

Molly McCann – Flyweight – Record: 13-6

With three straight victories in the UFC, two of which took place in front of an enthusiastic London audience in 2022 and won him Meatball Performance of the Night honors, McCann was riding high. 

Following his submission loss to Erin Blanchfield, McCann had a break from mixed martial arts until facing Julija Stoliarenko in July, when he was defeated by first-round submission once more.

Arnold Allen – UFC Featherweight – Record: 19-3

Although Allen was possibly one fight away from challenging Max Holloway for the UFC featherweight title earlier in the year, Alexander Volkanovski may very well continue to oversee the division until he declares he is no longer interested.

Granted that Volkanovski has defeated Holloway in his past three fights, there’s little shame in losing to the Australian, given the latter’s supremacy in the division, but Allen suffers a significant loss. Regrettably, Movsar Evloev’s out-pointing led to a second consecutive defeat.

Muhammad Mokaev- Flyweight – Record: 11-0 (1 NC)

Probably the most interesting background of any English cage warrior is that of Muhammad Mokaev. Mokaev, an MMA fighter based in Manchester who was born in Dagestan, resembles the archetypal Dagestani; he always finds a way to take his opponents to the canvas and force them to submit. 

Using four distinct submission techniques—the neck crank, armbar, guillotine, and arm triangle—he has won four of his five UFC bouts. A championship fight may be a year away for him after he lost to #10-ranked Tim Elliott at UFC 294 on October 21. He was not included in the London show in July. 

Paul Craig – Light heavyweight Middleweight – Record: 17-7-1

After defeating Nikita Krylov by submission at UFC London in March of last year, Paul Craig from Scotland managed to secure a spot in the top 10 at light heavyweight. However, his ranking was put in jeopardy after two consecutive defeats, and he faced #14-ranked middleweight Andre Muniz in his next bout, which took place in London. 

After winning via TKO in the second round, Craig is currently rated #12 in the middleweight division. The #15-ranked Caoi Borralho will take on Craig’s, who was defeated by Brendan Allen in November of last year.

Nathaniel Wood – Featherweight – Record: 20-6-0

Competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight category is English mixed martial artist Nathaniel Wood. Having entered the professional ranks in 2012, he was the Bantamweight Champion while competing for Cage Warriors.

On February 18, 2012, at Fusion Fighting Championship: Breakthrough, Wood faced James Humphries in his professional debut bout. It ended in a technical knockout in the second round for him. Before accepting a contract with Cage Warriors, he went on to compile a 9-3 record.

At UFC Fight Night: Rivera vs. Moraes on June 1, 2018, Wood made his professional debut against Johnny Eduardo. He submitted the opponent in Round 2, earning a Performance of the Night bonus in the process.

Ross Pearson – Welterweight – Record: 20-16-0 (1 NC)

Pearson, who grew up in Sunderland, England, started Tae Kwon Do training at the age of six. In high school, he also took up boxing and judo. At the age of 17, Pearson subsequently started training in mixed martial arts.

Pearson is renowned for throwing strong punches. The armbar is one of his preferred grappling techniques.

On April 8, 2019, Pearson made his retirement known. On November 16, Pearson made his MMA comeback by facing Davy Gallon at Probellum 1, where he was defeated by knockout.

Current British UFC Champions

After stunning Kamaru Usman with a spectacular head kick at UFC 278 to win the Welterweight title, Leon Edwards is currently the only British MMAchampion.

Tom AspinallMen’s Heavyweight
Michael ParkinMen’s Heavyweight
Darren TillMen’s Middleweight
Christian Leroy DuncanMen’s Middleweight
Leon EdwardsMen’s Welterweight
Danny RobertsMen’s Lightweight
Jai HerbertMen’s Lightweight
Paddy PimblettMen’s Lightweight
Sam PattersonMen’s Lightweight
Arnold AllenMen’s Featherweight
Nathaniel WoodMen’s Featherweight
Chris FishgoldMen’s Featherweight
Lerone MurphyMen’s Featherweight
Davey GrantMen’s Bantamweight
Muhammed MokaevMen’s Flyweight
Jack HadleyMen’s Flyweight
Molly McCannWomen’s Flyweight

Former British UFC Champions

Michael Bisping – Middleweight – 6ft 1in – MMA Record: 30-9

The first British MMA champion, nicknamed “The Count,” was born on a British military base in Nicosia, Cyprus, but raised in Clitheroe, Lancashire. Six years his junior, Luke Rockhold, was the middleweight champion. With just 17 days’ notice, Bisping took over for the injured Chris Weidman and defeated the American with an impressive first-round knockout. After two brutal left hooks to Rockhold, who was unable to recover and lost both the middleweight belt and his five-fight winning streak, the bout at The Forum in Inglewood was stopped after just three minutes and 36 seconds.

Before losing to Canadian MMA icon Georges St-Pierre via third-round submission in November 2017 at Madison Square Garden, Bisping successfully defended the title against Dan Henderson and overturned a prior defeat. He had been the champion for over eighteen months. In May 2018, at 39 years old, he announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.

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