UFC London is sort of upon us, so talkSPORT caught up with Brad ‘One Punch’ Pickett to run the rule on Britain and Eire’s combined martial arts scene.
Pickett is a legend of the struggle sport and one of the vital respected fighters to ever come out of the UK.
The London loved a seven 12 months profession within the UFC however, earlier than that, he was a legend on the British circuit with a number of title wins and memorable knockouts.
Now 41, Pickett is coaching UFC bantamweight Nathaniel Wooden, although he retains a detailed eye on the UK and Eire’s prime abilities and those to control.
Molly McCann, 29, flyweight
“Meatball Molly is somebody I’ve recognized for a longtime earlier than she signed for the UFC.
“I watched her struggle on the British scene and even skilled together with her a bit bit. I’m a bit fan of her placing type. She throws very onerous for somebody in her weight class, she has good pop and she or he has that grit angle the place she will dig deep generally.
“You noticed her have that struggle the place her eye seemed like a balloon and she or he carried on preventing. She’s acquired that grit and toughness so yeah, I’m a giant fan of Meatball Molly.”
Nathaniel Wooden, 26, bantamweight
“I do know what Nathaniel needs, he needs that fast turnaround and to struggle on the London card [laughs].
“A very good matchup that I’ve all the time been calling for which I feel makes a lot sense for the division is Marlon Vera.
“Each of them are doing effectively, they’re each on a little bit of a streak, there’s been a bit little bit of forwards and backwards on social media and, additionally, simply with the story of Marlon Vera being my final struggle, the story sells itself. However not solely that, it’s a great struggle. I’d love that to occur.
“Jack Shore is one other actually gifted child, however Nathaniel is above him within the scheme of issues in the meanwhile within the bantamweight division. I imply that strictly by way of fights gained and all of that.
So, it wouldn’t make a lot sense for Nathaniel to take a struggle with him anytime quickly, however when Jack’s inventory rises a bit and he will get some wins underneath his belt – and I’m certain he’ll – that’s a struggle that might headline a UFC London card a 12 months or two from now. Each guys ought to be ranked excessive in that division.”
Leon Edwards, 28, welterweight
“I keep in mind seeing Leon again within the BAMMA days and I do consider I’ve acquired a great eye for expertise and I mentioned, even then, this child has acquired loads of expertise.
“Funnily sufficient, I assumed he jogged my memory of a great buddy of mine referred to as Yves Edwards. He was a giant fighter again within the day, a southpaw and a really gifted man, too.
“I feel due to his manner generally he falls a bit underneath the radar generally. He doesn’t say an excessive amount of however he goes in and will get the job performed. He’s been wanting incredible of late, together with a terrific efficiency in opposition to Gunnar Nelson on the final London card and now he’s in a most important occasion of an O2 card and that’s good.
“Not solely that, however he’s acquired a terrific opponent in Tyron Woodley who’s been a terrific UFC champion. If he beats him, he’s proper there knocking on the door for a title shot.”
Darren Until, 27, middleweight
“I consider Darren Until might be a world champion at middleweight. But once more, he’s a really gifted younger child. Folks overlook how younger he nonetheless is and maybe he rose a bit too fast. He acquired thrown within the deep finish a bit bit.
“However you noticed in his final struggle, coming off back-to-back losses and taking up somebody like Kelvin Gastelum, that takes lot of cojones in the event you ask me!
“I’ve been in the same state of affairs earlier than while you’re struggling back-to-back losses and also you’re considering ‘is that this sport for me?’ or ‘am I ever going to do something?’ and you’ve got loads of destructive ideas your self, not to mention what all of social media may say nowadays. Everybody’s acquired their opinion!
“I reached out to him straight after that struggle, congratulated him and mentioned ‘Look, extra than simply the struggle itself, so that you can come by way of the adversity your self, it’s a must to struggle loads of demons’ – so I’m actually comfortable for him.”
Conor McGregor, 31, light-weight/welterweight
“It’s actually onerous to say.
“Clearly, McGregor seemed incredible when he got here again in opposition to Donald Cerrone, however in the event you ask me, Cerrone is an effective fighter, however he has a totally totally different talent set to Khabib and can be a distinct calibre.
“It’s good to see Conor again in there; would I wish to see him in opposition to Khabib once more? Sure, after all.
“However, Khabib has to get by way of Tony Ferguson which can be a tough struggle so there’s loads of ifs and buts on this sport. After that, we glance to see the place Conor suits into that image – which he positively does do as a result of he brings so many eyes to the kind – so it is going to be attention-grabbing. I’m extra centered on how Khabib and Ferguson performs out first, however I want to see Conor face the winner.
“At that form of stage, McGregor might struggle anyone. I feel a struggle with Justin Gaethje is a f***ing incredible struggle, however, it’s a danger.
“Gaethje is an excellent fighter. I do assume Conor would win that struggle, nevertheless it’s a danger. If you happen to’re there [in that title mix] and persons are already speaking a couple of title shot, why would you wish to struggle a contender while you already consider you’re subsequent in line?”