Welcome to the UFC: Marcus McGhee

Marcus McGhee, UFC Vegas 72 weigh-in
Marcus McGhee, UFC Vegas 72 weigh-in Credit: Rodney James Edgar/Cageside Press

The UFC is back once more at the UFC Apex this Saturday, with five debuting fighters, none of whom earned contracts on the Contender Series. That makes this weekend something of a rarity, with a mix of short-notice fighters and talents signed directly to the big show with a full fight camp. One of the short-notice call-ups at UFC Vegas 72 is Marcus McGhee, who steps in to face Journey Newson, replacing Brian Kelleher.

Marcus “The Maniac” McGhee
Standing at six-foot-three
Fighting at 135 lbs (bantamweight)
Fighting out of Phoenix, Arizona, US
Training out of MMA Lab
A pro record of 6-1

How McGhee will fare in the UFC:

I am surprised to see McGhee already in the UFC. He is filling in on short notice so it’s not a bad signing. The Michigan-born fighter made his amateur debut in 2012 but didn’t turn pro until 2020. When he did go pro, the coronavirus pandemic set in, and everything shut down— slowing his career. As an amateur, McGhee went 3-2 while winning those three consecutively and capturing the Iron Boy MMA featherweight title.

Most of McGhee’s cage time has played out on the feet. He’s been taken down from time to time and his sole loss comes by submission. Other times I’ve seen him getting taken down and he bounces back up. In his last fight, his takedown defense was perfect. Training with the guys at the MMA Lab they know what they’re doing in all disciplines.

McGhee’s hands are super sharp complemented by some wonderful in-and-out movement. He can lunge forward with a combination and get back out of the way. He utilizes light movement and some really quick footwork. The best thing McGhee does, along with frequent volume, is that he always throws in different patterns. He won’t just head hunt but will go to the body actively and throw there in combinations. McGhee will interject some heavy leg kicks at the end of combinations really mixing everything together. McGhee makes it tough to read him not only with his shot selection but his use of feints/fakes that is perfectly done. He also does a good job with his head movement rolling with punches.

McGhee is a surprising signing but being 32 it’s best to give him a shot now. He’s also got a lot of potential even in a stacked division. I don’t see him ever being ranked. He could be in the top 25 which is exceptional at bantamweight. I like the signing.

How he matches up with Journey Newson:

Newson has been disappointing since coming to the UFC. Newson likes to use a lot of side-to-side movement and throw a lot of kicks. He is tough to track down but doesn’t have enough offense himself. On the feet in this fight, McGhee has the advantage. He’s more offensive-heavy and his hands are way better. Newson I would think has to mix in some wrestling. I don’t see him as a good enough wrestler and grappler to hold McGhee down. McGhee is the bigger fighter that I predict he will press forward and put hands on Newson.