Bellator MMA has made a number of big signings in recent weeks. Now the promotion, which debuted on its new North American broadcast home of CBS Sports Network on Thursday, has signed prospect Usman Nurmagomedov, a cousin of UFC lightweight champion Khabib. They’ve also picked up Welsh UFC standout Brett Johns, something a coup, as Johns was testing free agency after winning his last two inside the octagon.
The signing of Nurmagomedov was announced via press release on Friday. Johns joining the promotion was first reported by ESPN.
Usman Nurmagomedov (11-0) most recently fought for Fight Nights Global, and has also competed for Brave CF, UAE Warriors, and GFC, among others. Among his eleven victories as a pro, the Dagestani fighter has ten finishes.
“With today’s signing of Usman Nurmagomedov, we are making it clear that Bellator is home to the best fighters on the planet and an organization where the sport’s future stars are coming to compete,” Bellator President Scott Coker said in Friday’s press release. “I am thrilled to have Usman join the promotion and he will be placed in an immediate position to showcase his skills and contend at 155-pounds. We hope to have him in action inside the Bellator cage by December or January.”
Nurmagomedov has previously appeared on our own Weekly MMA Prospect Report several times, and was one of our 10 Prospects the UFC Should Sign in 2020. Clearly, Bellator beat the competition to the punch.
Brett Johns (17-2), meanwhile, becomes an instant contender in Bellator’s bantamweight division. New champion Juan Archuleta rules the roost there, with Sergio Pettis in all likelihood the number one contender. In his UFC tenure, Johns went 5-2 inside the octagon.
Nurmagomedov and Johns will be joined by Rustam Khabilov (24-4), who leaves the UFC off a win at UFC Moscow last year. Among other recent signings, Bellator has also picked up former UFC fighter Jeremy Kennedy, Jared Scoggins (brother of ex-UFC flyweight Justin Scoggins), Bryce Logan, Levan Chokheli, Alan Omer, Jaylon Bates (whose signing was first reported by Cageside Press), Jaleel Willis, Desiree Yanez, Arbi Mezhidov, Randi Field, Steven MacDonald, Jose Augusto, Cody Law, Justin Gonzales, and Invicta FC flyweight champ Vanessa Porto.