Who’s got next?

In this article I’m going to list the 5 British fighters that I believe are the UKs next best hope at UFC world championship glory.

Before getting into my predictions just a quick look back at the history of the title in the UK. It began with one of the real trailblazers and pioneers of British mixed martial arts, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping. With his now famous left hook over bitter rival Luke Rockhold in a rematch many thought Bisping would struggle in. On that night, the 4th of June 2016 at UFC199, just over 10 years since his UFC debut Bisping made history becoming our first ever champion with a first round finish. He then defended the belt on home soil in Manchester, England at UFC 204 on October 8th 2016 against another former rival Dan Henderson. History had been made, one of our own British fighters had the biggest prize in the game and defended it on home soil, who would be next.

Next up was Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards 6 years later, Salt Lake City, Utah UFC 278 on the 22nd of August 2022. In similar fashion to Bisping in 2016 Leon was a big underdog. Going into the last 90 seconds of the fight it seemed a formality that Usman would retain and Bisping would stand alone. Of course you all know by now, that’s not what happened. Leon seemingly out of nowhere landed the perfectly timed and set up head kick, in turn becoming the second ever British champion and he had just beat the pound for pound best fighter on the planet. He would then just as Bisping had done before him, bring a UFC PPV back to the UK and defend his belt on home soil in the third fight of his trilogy with Kamaru Usman, in London, England UFC 286 on the 18th of March 2023 at the O2 arena.

Arnold ‘Almighty’ Allen

Age: 29

Division: Featherweight

MMA Record: 19-1

My first pick is Arnold ‘Almighty’ Allen he is currently the 4th ranked featherweight in the world, with good reason as he’s undefeated in the UFC and his current win streak since signing for the promotion sits at 10. He has an upcoming main event clash against one of the divisions all time best Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway, where a win all but guarantees him next in line for a title shot. Allen was once a training partner of George St-Pierre at the well known Tristar Gym in Montreal, Canada, training for a majority of his earlier UFC bouts under well respected coach Firas Zahabi. He now trains closer to his hometown of Wigan, England, with the BKK fighters stable. This Max Holloway fight is undoubtedly the biggest opportunity of Arnold’s career to truly announce himself to the world. The first round TKO of Dan Hooker in the co main event at UFC Fight night: Volkov VS Aspinall at the O2 London, England was a big moment for the featherweight prospect, not just getting an incredible first round finish but doing it in front of a hometown crowd no doubt great for his confidence. His upcoming bout against Max Holloway will be far and away his toughest test and I cant wait to see how he handles the moment.


Tom Aspinall 

Age: 29

Division: Heavyweight

MMA Record: 12-3

Tom Aspinall is a highly skilled heavyweight tipped by many as a potential future UFC champ, including someone previously mentioned above Michael Bisping. Standing at 6’5 he has a real physical presence but is deceptively quick for his size as he floats around the cage like a middleweight. He has devastating power in both hands and a black belt in jiu jitsu to fall back on if the striking isn’t working. He trains out of Team Kaobon Liverpool, England where his father is the head jiu jitsu coach. Tom is currently the 5th ranked heavyweight contender in the UFC, he suffered a devastating knee injury in the main event of UFC fight night 208 on July 23, 2022 at the O2 London, England, against his toughest test to date Curtis Blaydes, where a win would have undoubtedly put him in the divisions top 3. He believes he will be back in July of this year and better than ever now he has to fully functioning knees. A lifelong combat sports enthusiast he has competed once as a professional boxer even training alongside Tyson Fury for several years before switching to full time MMA. With Tom already having wins over the likes of Andrei Arlovski, Sergey Spivak and Alexander Volkov the potential is clearly there and i look forward to seeing him back in the octagon this summer.


Jack ‘Tank’ Shore 

Age: 28

Division: Featherweight

MMA Record: 17-1

Jack ‘Tank’ Shore of Abertillery, Wales is an incredibly skilled and well rounded fighter as his 17-1 record clearly shows, he entered the UFC with a record of 11-0 and as the Cage Warriors bantamweight champion. Beginning his UFC tenure on fire with 5 straight wins taking his record to 16-0 he was the 14th ranked contender at bantamweight and tipped as a real problem for the division even drawing comparisons to the great George St-Pierre. He then suffered his first defeat at the hands of highly skilled Ricky Simon, Jack who has always been a big guy for the division then made the difficult decision to move up a weight class to featherweight believing that the drastic weight cut was effecting his performances even the winning efforts. Jack trains out of SMMA (Shore mixed martial arts) his father Richard Shore’s gym, there making real waves down there for British and Welsh MMA, with the likes of Jack and former UFC veteran and now Bellator fighter Brett Johns leading the way. Jack has recently made his featherweight debut in the UFC at UFC 286 in front of the British fans in London, England, securing a second round rear naked choke to get the job done against a tough and durable Makwan Amirkhani. Give it a year or two and I believe he has as good a chance as anyone on this list to bring a title home.


Paul ‘Bearjew’ Craig

Age: 35

Division: Light heavyweight

MMA record: 16-6-1

Paul Craig is a Scottish mixed martial artist who competes in the light heavyweight division of the UFC, with a high grappling pedigree he is a truly a fighter you can never count out of a fight and is willing to go through the fire to pull his opponents into deep waters. With 6 0f his 8 UFC victories coming by way of submission he is proving to be a tough test for anyone in the division, although Craig has suffered defeat in his last two appearances in the octagon I’m not ready to write off his title hopes just yet. You only have to look at his last two victories to see there is still a place for him amongst the elite at 205, the first of these victories coming against the current champion of the division Jamahal Hill via first TKO and the second coming against highly ranked contender Nikita Krylov via first round submission. Paul also has a now famous last second ‘buzzer beater’ submission victory against number 2 ranked contender Magomed Ankalaev. With 7 performance bonuses to his name and victories over some of the very best the weight class has to offer I believe Paul is only 2 good wins away from making his case for a title shot providing there the right names, he currently sits as the 9th ranked light heavyweight contender in the UFC.


Casey ‘King’ O’ Neill

Age: 25

Division: Flyweight

MMA record: 9-1

O’ Neill is a Scottish born mixed martial artist who competes in the flyweight division of the UFC. The youngest prospect to make this list began her combat sports journey in Scotland starting with kickboxing until she moved to Australia at the age of 10 where her journey continued. At 13 she started Brazilian jiu jitsu as her mind was made up that she wanted to be a mixed martial artist. With mixed results at the beginning of her amateur career she made the decision to take two years out to really develop her skills.  It proved to be a master stroke from young Casey as she would return at 19 years old a totally different fighter, that led to five straight victories on the amateur circuit and her turning pro a little after her 21st birthday. Another five straight victories followed at pro leading to her ultimately getting the UFC call up in February of 2021 at 23 years old quite the journey. Now 4-1 during her time in the UFC she shows no real signs of slowing down, she now trains and fights out of Xtreme Couture MMA in Las Vegas, Nevada and is equipped with the right skills and pieces around her to remain a player in this division for many years to come. She currently sits as the 13th ranked flyweight in the UFC and is constantly improving.

Join Our WhatsApp Group

Join our UFC WhatsApp fan group and discuss the latest UFC events and news