Cage Warriors has been famously known for producing Europe’s hottest talent and some of the best fighters in the world today. Many athletes who have fought under the Cage Warriors banner have gone on to achieve great success. Some are climbing the ranks in the UFC, and some have already achieved UFC gold.
In this piece, we take a look at the top ten prospects that have fought under Cage Warriors and then reached the pinnacle of the sport. We have more common names, such as Jack Shore, Paddy Pimblett, Ian Garry, and Mason Jones, who deserve to be on the list. However, we aimed to remind fans of names people may not have known who fought under Cage Warriors.
The Cage Warriors Representatives
10. Molly “Meatball” McCann (12-4, British)
Meatball started her career fighting under the Shock N’ Awe, XFC international, and Shinobi war promotions. She fought three times for Cage Warriors and was undefeated for them, winning the CWFC women’s flyweight championship via KO in front of her Liverpool faithful.
McCann’s stock recently skyrocketed following the win at UFC fight night: Volkov vs Aspinall, in which she won via a spinning-back elbow against Luana Carolina.
9. Arnold “Almighty” Allen (18-1, British )
Still, very early into his career, he already has three performance of the night bonuses for the UFC, with the latest following his most recent victory against Dan Hooker with a TKO in the first round. He is currently riding an 11 fight win streak, with 9 of those whilst being part of the UFC.
Allen dominated in Cage Warriors also, apart from a single loss via decision. This is the only blemish on his otherwise immaculate career.
8. Jack “The Joker” Hermansson (22-7, Swedish)
The joker opened his professional career on a five fight win streak, winning the ECFF middleweight championship on his debut. He then won the CWFC middleweight championship at CW69, defended it at CW71, and then won the WFS middleweight championship before defending the CWFC middleweight championship again AT CW75.
He’s still an active part of the UFC roster as he is currently ranked #7 in the middleweight rankings following trading wins and losses.
7. Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy (25-10, British)
Hardy was a high volume striker and had plenty of KO’s and TKO’s throughout his career. He went on to win the CWFC welterweight title against Matt Thorpe at CWFC: strike force 4.
Later in his career, The Outlaw went on a seven-fight win streak to challenge George St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight championship at UFC 105. Hardy could have easily tapped multiple times during the fight from kimura and armbar attempts, though he managed to take the fight to a decision, in which St-Pierre ended up winning unanimously. As a result of his durability, flexibility, and determination, Hardy gained plenty of followers upon the fight’s conclusion.
Hardy is known more with newer fans for his fight knowledge, breakdowns and analytics. However, he was forced to retire due to being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-white syndrome, which affects the heart. Hardy stated that he is cleared to fight but is still yet to make a return to the octagon.
6. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (19-13, Brazilian)
Bigfoot began his pro MMA career in 2005 and has fought for a whole host of organisations throughout his lengthy career and won many titles; His first title was the cage rage world heavyweight title, in which Silva won in his third pro-MMA bout. He then won and defended the cage warriors super heavyweight championship in consecutive fights.
The final title he won was the EliteXC heavyweight championship, also via TKO. At his peak, his record was an admirable record of 18-4 before declining towards the later stages of his career.
Bigfoot Silva defeated huge names throughout, including Andre Arlovski, Travis Browne, Alistair Overeem, and “the last emperor” Fedor Emelianenko.
The Pioneer of Women’s MMA
5. Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi (25-20, American)
Considered to be one of the pioneers of women’s MMA, fighting from 2003, she has only just retired following her last fight against the up and coming Casey O’Neill.
Modafferi had only one fight under the cage warriors banner at CW40. This was her debut at flyweight, in which Rosi Sexton defeated her via UD.
She has participated in countless promotions and won titles such as the IFC women’s middleweight championship, FFF lightweight championship in which she defended, the K-Grace women’s open weight tournament, and the FFL flyweight championship.
Whilst not having the most dominant record in women’s MMA, the happy warrior is a fan favourite and has cemented her legacy in the sport.
4. Joanna Jedzrejczyk (16-4, Polish)
In the women’s strawweight and flyweight divisions, a dominant force only fought once in cage warriors, defeating Rosi sexton via KO in the second round of their fight CW69.
She went on still undefeated to beat Carla Esparza to win the UFC women’s strawweight title, defending the title 5 times against Jessica penne, Valérie Létourneau, Cláudia Gadelha, Karolina Kowalkiewics, and Jessica Andrade. She also went on to have what was considered the greatest fight in women’s MMA history against Zhang Weili.
The Man That Paved The Way
3. Michael “The Count” Bisping (30-9, British)
Arguably the best and most successful British fighter to compete in the UFC. The first British UFC titleholder who had an up and down career who traded wins and losses whilst always being on the precipice of earning a title shot and winning the title on multiple occasions.
Bisping has multiple fights for Cage Warriors and won with his trademark high striking volume and pressure, leading to TKO and submission wins before joining the ultimate fighter season 3. He went on to win the season at middleweight.
It’s well documented that he lost the sight in his left eye following a high kick in a KO loss to Vitor Belfort, though he didn’t let this stop him. He had a five-round action-packed war with Anderson Silva, and he won a unanimous decision and was subsequently called for a title shot with then middleweight champion Luke Rockhold on less than two weeks’ notice. Bisping won the fight via knockout in the first round with the famed “left hook Larry” before finishing the fight with ground and pound with Rockhold pinned against the cage, A monumental moment for British MMA. He then went on to defend that title over five thrilling rounds against Dan Henderson
2. Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi (49-7, Dutch)
Mousasi only had one fight as part of Cage Warriors, wherein, in his usual calm, collected, and methodical fashion, he took the win, finishing with ground and pound.
He has been part of many other different promotions. Pride, Dream, ADCC, M-1 Global, Affliction, Strikeforce, and the UFC.
Whilst in the UFC, Mousasi defeated a variety of huge names, including mark Muñoz, Dan Henderson, Thiago Santos, Vitor Belfort, Thiago Santos, Uriah Hall, and Chris Weidman. Many deemed him worthy of a title shot he never received, though he went onto Bellator and currently holds the Bellator’s middleweight world title.
The Cage Warriors Golden Boy
1. Conor “The Notorious” McGregor (22-6, Irish)
Who else at number 1?
McGregor is a former UFC interim featherweight champion and the first and only UFC fighter to hold titles for two different weight classes simultaneously. All whilst becoming the face of the company.
While part of Cage Warriors, he had accomplished the same feat, winning and holding the CWFC featherweight and lightweight championships simultaneously. He became the first European mixed martial artist to achieve this. McGregor defeated Dave Hill via RNC at CW47 to obtain the CW featherweight championship. After he then defeated Ivan Buchinger via KO at CW51 to win the CW lightweight championship. As a result, McGregor was already a well-established name before joining the UFC
Though his performances haven’t gone his way lately, his legacy is already cemented. McGregor will likely be the most successful CW prospect ever to make it into the UFC.
What do you think of our top ten list?
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images