There is no doubt in our minds that England has left a permanent imprint on the martial arts scene in every corner of the world. With both legendary MMA veterans having shaped the sport of MMA and young prospects entering the scene in the last few years, British MMA is looking stronger than ever. English fighters have been crowned champions and fought for the title countless times in the UFC, Bellator, One FC and Pride / Rizin. So today, we wanted to honor the legacy of English MMA by listing our very own top 5 list of the best and/or most influental English MMA fighters of all time. Keep in mind that this list is not based on official rankings, current UFC odds or individual records for each athlete, we are only basing it on our own opinions.
5) Nathaniel “The Prospect” Wood (17 – 5 – 0)
This young bantamweight stud out of London is coached by none other than Brad Pickett who is himself a legendary British mixed martial artist. If this list was longer, it would include them both. But now that Nathaniel Wood has picked up where Pickett left off, we want to shift our attention to the young prospect instead. Despite his recent loss to judo black belt Casey Kenney at UFC 254 we believe that the future is bright for team Wood. His young age of 27 will grant him plenty of chances to climb the rankings of the UFC and eventually earn himself a shot at the title.
4) Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy (25 – 10 – 0)
Having transitioned from a professional MMA fighter to professional MMA commentator, “The Outlaw” is a well known name to those who watch UFC events on TV. When Joe Rogan is unavailable, Dan Hardy takes his place as cageside commentator, but he is most notorious for taking on some of the most dangerous opponents in MMA history. The list is long, but most notably he has fought George Saint-Pierre, Anthony Johnson, Carlos Condit and Duane Ludwig. His red mohawk hairstyle might be a thing of the passed, but Dan Hardy is still a very relevant figure on the MMA scene to this day.
3) Leon “Rocky” Edwards (18 – 3 – 0)
There has been much controversy surrounding British UFC fighter Leon Edwards in the last couple of years. Not only did he get in a bare knuckle fight in the backstage area of UFC London at the O2 back in March of 2019, he was also dropped off the UFC rankings for declining too many fights, including a title shot against Kamaru Usman. As of right now, we are not sure if Edwards will get his #3 welterweight ranking back or not, but rumor has it he will face Khamzat “Borz” Chimaev of Stockholm, Sweden in December of 2020. This speaks to the level of skill and courage that Leon has since no other ranked fighter is willing to face Khamzat in the Octagon. Leon Edwards has defeated fighters such as Rafael Dos Anjos, Vicente Luque, Bryan Barbarena and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
2) Darren “The Gorilla” Till (18 – 3 – 1)
If you are a fight fan, you will surely have heard of Darren “The Gorilla” Till. And no, we are not talking about that time Jorge Masvidal floored him in the O2 arena. We are trying our hardest to erase that out of our memories. Born in Liverpool in 1992, this young man has charged into the MMA world head first and taken down some of the best fighters in the welterweight and middleweight divisions. While fighting in the welterweight division, many thought Till looked too big and strong to keep cutting down to 170lbs and eventually he moved up to 185lbs. Since his debut in UFC, Darren Till has claimed victories against fighters such as Kelvin Gastelum, Stephen Thompson and Cowboy Cerrone. While his impressive record speaks for itself, we look forward to what the future will bring to the table for Darren Till.
1) Michael “The Count” Bisping (30 – 9 – 0)
Who else could top this list but “The Count” himself – Michael Bisping! He is as English as English fighters go, despite being born on a military base on Cyprus. If you know anything about Mixed Martial Arts, you need no further introduction to this legend. And if you are new to this sport, you might recognize him as a recurring guest commentator on the live UFC broadcasts. To give you an idea of how great a fighter this guy is, we will let his record do the talking:
- Dan Henderson (Win by unanimous decision)
- Luke Rockhold (Win by knockout)
- Anderson Silva (Win by unanimous decision)
- Chris Leben (Win by unanimous decision)
- Matt Hamill (Win by split decision)
- Cung Le (Win by knockout)
So there it is, our top 5 MMA fighters from England! Even though all of them are current or former UFC fighters, we should mention that there are many more fighters from England to discover in other promotions such as Bellator and One FC. And every year new talented athletes emerge. As English MMA fans we are in for a promising future!