The UFC made a trip to Europe in an environment where other promotions are making a much bigger impact on the continent as the UFC looks to continue showcasing their talent.
The UFC travels to London for UFC Fight Night 107 as once again a trip to Europe will feature fighters that are a rare sight with Europeans fighters remaining in Europe despite the lack of growth it causes.
It is never an easy thing to move away from home and try to perform at the highest level possible in an intense competition. Yet that is what many North American fighters do time and time again as they consistently travel to every corner of the earth to fight whoever they can. Many times it is just out of necessity as they look to get as many fights as they can in the UFC to give them the best chance at making an impression.
The UFC travels overseas once again on another busy day for the promotion as UFC Fight Night 53 marks the first in a double header for the day. The first of the fights will be in Sweden as the UFC returns to a hotbed of MMA with a host of European stars. None of these stars have been bigger than the young Icelandic fighter that will enter his first main event. Gunnar Nelson has proven to be one of the fastest rising European fighters in the UFC.
The UFC would travel to Ireland for the second time for UFC Fight Night 46 and they would feature one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC. The UFC is always looking for new places to go and new fans to get to as they continue to expand globally. The first time they travelled to Ireland the Irish MMA world was small and held little talent that could be main fighters to carry a card. That has all changed now with the emergence of Connor McGregor who essentially gave the UFC a reason to go back to Ireland.
The UFC will return to Ireland for the first time since 2009 and into what looks to be an entirely new MMA environment. In 2009 MMA in Ireland was not at the same place as it is today as it was merely developing in 2009. The first fight card in the country was full of American fighters and a few other nationalities but no Irish fighters. The closest the home fans got was Marcus Davis whose nickname was “The Irish Hand Grenade.” Despite having a reputation of a scrapping nation the attitude would not translate to the octagon.
The UFC would return to England for UFC Fight Night 37 and would be headlined by a big Light Heavyweight fight. It would originally feature one of the biggest stars in Europe against a Brazilian legend. #1 contender Alexander Gustafsson would take on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in UFC’s return to England in a match that would go a long way in determining the next title contender in the Light Heavyweight Division.
The UFC has been ravaged by injuries in the past two years and as the injuries continued to pile up one division saw the brunt of it. The Bantamweight division has essentially been without a champion for a little more than a year with Dominick Cruz sitting on the sidelines. As the champion was sidelined the interim belt would be up for grabs between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao.
Injuries have taken their toll on the UFC and they have affected some of the top fighters in the world. Georges St. Pierre has just come back from his knee injury after a year layoff and now another champion will be sidelined for the better part of a year. Dominick Cruz first tore his ACL while filming The Ultimate Fighter with Urijah Faber in May of 2011.