Top 5 up-and-coming UK MMA fighters

Dylan Thompson MMATorch Contributor


In this article I will be discussing my own personal opinion on the Top 5 up-and-coming MMA fighters from within the United Kingdom. Even though this is my own personal opinion, I will back these opinions up with facts and will also include detailed insights into the fighters amateur careers (where applicable) and personal life (where available).

Fabian Edwards 8-0 (Bellator)

Kicking things off for my Top 5 up and coming UK MMA fighters is, Fabian Edwards. Fabian is the younger brother of current #4 ranked UFC fighter, Leon. “The Assassin” is currently unbeaten in his professional MMA career and is taking the Bellator roster by storm, securing three KO/TKO and three submission victories in his first eight outings he really has shown how versatile he can be in order to get fights ended.

Fabian also boasts an unbeaten amateur record of 6-0, five of those victories came by way of KO/TKO. With stats like “The Assassin” has it’s not hard to see why he is one of the United Kingdom’s hot prospects and with a fight coming up against Mike Shipman (13-2-0) he again will have the opportunity to show off his explosive style and knockout power which brings excitement on every card he has ever featured on.

In my opinion, it will not be long before Fabian gets a call from a certain Dana White over at the UFC to go and join his brother under his promotion.

James Gallagher 10-1 (Bellator)

Next up in my Top 5 up and coming UK MMA fighters is an Irishman who goes by the name of James Gallagher. The 23 year old nicknamed “The Strabanimal” is making absolute waves within Bellator’s Featherweight division, securing seven wins and one loss since making the move to Bellator from BAMMA.

James has made quite a name for himself as a submission artist, eight out of his 10 professional victories have come by submission and to drill into that stat further 7 of these submission victories have come by Rear-Naked Choke. His amateur career also speaks for itself when it comes to submissions with three of his five victories coming via submission, he really is a Jiu-Jitsu animal.

“The Strabanimal” trains at SBG in Ireland, alongside UFC superstar Conor McGregor and under the leadership of John Kavanagh. So it’s not hard to see where he gets his trash-talking antics from, his trash-talking antics is what makes this fighter so popular because not only does he talk the talk he also walks the walk.

2020 could be a huge year for the young Bellator star and having watched a few of his fights, I can really see James going right to the top of the sport and at 23 he still has a lot of time to achieve his goals.

Aaron Chalmers 5-1 (Bellator)

Onto the next fighter in my Top 5 up and coming UK MMA fighters is a Geordie named Aaron “The Joker” Chalmers. Now I’m going to be honest, when I first heard Aaron was moving over to MMA from reality TV here in the United Kingdom I genuinely thought it was a joke. Boy was I wrong. Aaron has stepped into the world of MMA almost seemingly and now boasts a professional record of 5-1, he has had to deal with a lot of abuse since announcing his new career path but has now begun silencing the doubters with four first round wins.

“The Joker” has shown his versatility within the sport after securing three submission victories and two KO/TKO victories, making him a very difficult character to predict. With no amateur experience and spending the majority of his adult life partying on TV it’s really hard not to be impressed with Aaron and the way he has conducted himself.

In my opinion, if he continues to rack up the wins it will not be long before he gets a move over to the UFC. I think this move could happen without even taking his fighting ability into count, his social media presence/following is enough to generate enough attention for any fight he has. His Twitter platform at time of writing this sits at 828.8k, so if 10% of his followers purchased the PPV or purchased tickets that would amount to over 80,000 fans watching just him.

Terry Brazier 11-2 (Bellator)

Moving onto my next pick in my Top 5 up and coming UK MMA fighters is London’s Terry Braizer, the former two-division BAMMA champion. Terry, nicknamed “The Dominator” currently sits on an 11-2 professional record and has a 4-1 amateur career.

The 6ft Lightweight has secured four victories via KO/TKO, three victories via submission and four victories by way of decision. Terry has proven he can win by any means necessary whether that be by KO, TKO or submission which makes “The Dominator” a tricky task for any fighter within that division.

Terry recently bounced back from only his second professional defeat to the hands of Chris Bungard with a slick Keylock submission on Alessandro Botti, proving again why he is so highly rated in the UK. You never know which Terry you’re going to get come fight night which makes for a very entertaining watch.

Rhys McKee 9-2 (Cage Warriors)

Finally in my Top 5 up and coming UK MMA fighters is Northern Ireland’s very own, Rhys “Skeletor” McKee. Rhys currently has a professional record of 9-2 which at 23 years old is very impressive even more so when you look and see he has never been taken the distance as a professional.

In 2018, Rhys became the BAMMA Lightweight World Champion at just 22 years old. In doing so avenged his only loss at the time. “Skeletor” more recently has moved over from BAMMA to the Cage Warriors Organisation and boasts a perfect record under this promotion at 2-0, with one coming by way of knockout and the latest coming by way of submission.

Rhys currently has a fight pencilled in and is the main event at Cage Warriors 110, Rhys will line up against Hakon Foss and will no doubt be looking to extend his perfect start since making the switch in organisations.

Time will tell where Rhys ends up but at such a young age surely the only way is up for the hard hitting “Skeletor”.

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