Cage Warriors finally returns this week with a triple header of events. Starting Thursday, the British organization will run three events with 26 total fights, including five title fights. The return from a six month hiatus is not just a welcome change for the promotion and the athletes who fight for them, but is likely a bonus for the UFC as well, who regularly snatches up their top talent. Since it’s a lot to look at, we’ve put together the SparkNotes on who the UFC should track down should they win their respective fights.
Mason Jones (9-0) – Lightweight/Welterweight
The lightweight champion caps off the weekend with the Saturday headlining spot opposite of Adam Proctor. However, rather than defending his title, the Welshman will be looking for champ-champ status as he tries to add the 170lbs belt to his trophy case as well. That fact alone would be enough for him to head on over to the UFC, but his finishes certainly don’t hurt. Jones has stopped 2 of his last 4 opponents with knees to the body. He also has a wealth of submission victories on his record. With a high quality of opponents, the question is not really whether he’ll make the big show, but when will he?
Jack Cartwright (8-0) – Bantamweight
Cartwright draws the headlining spot on the Friday card in the first defense of his bantamweight title. Cartwright is a throwback to an older style of fighter that Dana is sure to love. Although he grew up a wrestler, Cartwright fell in love with his hands when he hit his first boxing gym. Unlike so many wrestlers who’ve done this, Cartwright has incredible one touch KO power in them. He’s said he takes inspiration from wrestlers who had used their wrestling to force a striking match – fighters such as BJ Penn and Chuck Liddell. With all but his most recent fight ending with a first round stoppage, he appears to be doing a damn good job emulating them.
Jack Grant (15-5) – Lightweight
Grant is actually entering this fight coming off a loss against Jai Herbert (who is now in the UFC) in a bout for the vacant 155lbs belt. Before that loss, Grant had rattled off six straight victories including two submissions in a combined 51 seconds. If that isn’t enough to get excited about his sub skills, take a look at what he did to UFC veteran John Maguire during a grappling match back at Grapplefest 8 in February. Early on in the fight, Grant took flight and snatched a nasty flying armbar – a gutsy move against such an experienced foe. Those guts though should lead to come glory in the near future.
Jake Hadley (5-0) – Flyweight
Hadley actually appears on a fight card that is headlined by a title fight in his division. So why then are we looking at a much younger, less experienced challenger instead of one of the proven vets that will walk away with a belt? To start, Hadley isn’t as inexperienced as his 5-0 record might appear. He made his amateur debut 6 years ago and has fought 14 times total. In addition, he’s faced some high level competition in that time including a 5 round decision over TUF cast member Nkazimulo Zulu, who he took the EFC belt off of. Add in a brash attitude and a connection to Paradigm Sports Management (which certainly doesn’t hurt) and “The White Kong” should be UFC bound sooner than later.
Paul Hughes – (5-0) -Featherweight
Hughes is another fighter with a deceptively short record. Like Hadley he has an extensive amateur career that gives him 6 years of experience and 13 total fights. For Hughes though, the contract may come thanks to his highlight reel. You can’t watch his last fight, a head kick KO against Youri Panada, and not be impressed. After stuffing takedowns (even more for Dana to love), he threw a head kick that bounced Panada’s head against the cage and then he simply walked away. That kind of style will get you noticed sooner rather than later.