UFC London has been hailed as a landmark event for British MMA, but according to one of the brightest stars of the night, it didn’t feature the best current British MMA fighter.
Arnold Allen is currently a top-ranked featherweight and at UFC London he put on the best performance of his career, stopping Dan Hooker in just 2 minutes and 33 seconds. Allen was not the only British fighter to show out that evening, as Tom Aspinall, Paddy Pimblett, Molly McCann, Paul Craig, Jack Shore, and Muhammad Mokaev all scored impressive wins at the event, with Aspinall in particular garnering attention for his sensational first-round submission of Alexander Volkov. But despite the string of great performances, Allen says that the best current British MMA fighter wasn’t actually competing that evening.
“No. I think Leon Edwards is the best,” Aspinall said on The MMA Hour. “Having sparred with him, he’s the best. That man’s a different level. We sparred a good few rounds. He helped me a lot with advice for the fight and stuff like that. For me, he’s the No. 1 guy.”
Allen is not alone in his assessment. While Allen and Aspinall both currently hold the No. 6 spot in the UFC’s divisional rankings, Edwards is the No. 3 ranked welterweight. Similarly, the MMA Fighting Global Rankings currently have Edwards as the No. 3-ranked welterweight in the world, while Allen and Aspinall sit outside their divisions’ respective top fives.
For his part, Edwards was happy with the compliment, thanking Allen on Twitter, and promoting the new era of British MMA.
Thank you brother @Arnoldbfa British mma on the rise https://t.co/oyF5bke06J— Leon 'Rocky' Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) March 21, 2022
Edwards is believed to be next up for a title shot against current welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Should the fight go forward as anticipated, he would be the first British fighter to challenge for a UFC belt since Michael Bisping won the middleweight title at UFC 199.