The 5 best UFC fighters from the UK
MMA in the UK has come a long way over the past few years. The UFC first came to London back in 2002, but it’s over the last decade that the popularity of the sport has really exploded, and in that period we’ve seen many British fighters attempt to succeed inside the Octagon.
Some have made it all the way to the top, while others have fallen by the wayside even after showing flashes of potential. But who’s the best of the best from the British Isles? Here are my top five.
Ian Freeman – ‘The Machine’ was the UK’s first proper world-class MMA fighter and he made his UFC debut all the way back in what was known as the ‘Dark Ages’ at UFC 24 in 2000. Freeman was a ground-and-pound monster in his prime, but he doesn’t make this list because despite being a pioneer (and holding a win over Frank Mir) he only appeared in the UFC a paltry five times.
Lee Murray – On potential talent, ‘Lightning Lee’ probably makes this list, as he easily dispatched of Jorge Rivera in his lone UFC debut and the likes of Pat Miletich and Matt Hughes raved about his skills in the cage. Outside of the cage, however, Murray was a colourful character and his criminal record prevented his UFC career from really progressing. He’s now serving time due to his role in the infamous Securitas robbery.
Alistair Overeem – Overeem was born in Hounslow, England, and his nationality is represented by the flag of the UK on the UFC’s ‘Tale of the Tape’ graphic. But he’s always identified himself as a Dutch fighter as he grew up in the Netherlands, so it wouldn’t be right to consider him for this list.
Joanne Calderwood – ‘JoJo’ is one of the most popular fighters in the UFC’s Strawweight division and has been a staple of the top ten since she debuted in the UFC in 2014. But she’s only ever shown flashes of brilliance and has been somewhat inconsistent in her UFC tenure, although you could probably argue she’s the best MMA fighter ever produced by Scotland.