I The South African MMA community is alive with possibility as 2019 looks to be the biggest year in the sports history. New broadcasting deals, The Don Madge Head kick that sent shockwaves through the MMA world, the signing of Champion Dalcha to the UFC and so much more. With all the excitement in around the MMA World in South Africa, there seems to be two common questions: Will we see a UFC event in Africa and who would the next prospects be., With a lot talk about the UFC coming to South Africa in the next few years we take a look at the next question .
6 South African prospects for the UFC
- Chad Hanekom
‘Superman’ Burst onto the Scene as a Light Heavyweight under the EFC Banner and quickly established himself as a prime candidate for future title prospects. He notched up 4 impressive victories in the first 4 fights of his career and has since claimed a pro record of 6-1 with a 100% finish rate. Hanekom made the Move to middleweight in 2017 and has fought in three big international promotions namely; EFC, GKO and Brave Combat Federation. Chad has more recently become a free agent, so we look forward to his next move on route to the UFC.
2. Dricus Du Plessis
Dricus is still widely considered the African MMA pound for pound king. His legendary status in MMA has been hard earned to an already impressive career boasting a record of an 12-2 . Du Plessis at one stage held 3 belts across 2 massive promotions and an ever growing worth in terms of market value . He is back on course for a new ascension in KSW and earn his belt back, a new title run that could quite possibly end in the UFC.
3. Nkazimulo Zulu
‘Zuluboy’ has long been the king of the Flyweights in the EFC, he last suffered defeat in 2014 to the still undefeated Demarte Pena. ‘Zuluboy’ was the first South African to feature in the UFC Ultimate Fighter reality series. He was close to getting his UFC chance but to no avail. He has since returned to defend his thrown in attempt to earn a shot to prove himself in the UFC. I think if Zuluboy can get another few title Defenses we could see him applying his craft in the UFC.
4. Igeu Kabesa
Kabesa has been one of the most dominant fighters in the EFC’s existence. With a record of 11-1 and his only loss to Danny Henry, whom has since gone on to earn to fight bonuses with the UFC. Kabesa has also successfully defended to e EFC featherweight belt 4 times in his reign , dispatching opponents both foreign and local. He is without a doubt one of the most talented MMA athletes on the EFC roster and surely if he keeps winning the UFC will come calling.
5. JP Buys
Buys is the youngest ever champion in EFC history and has held belts in two divisions as well as a win in a global organisation. He has achieved a vast amount of greatness at a very young age and his game has evolved and matured to great lengths. His Record sits at 6-2 and i think the best of JP is yet to come. He had a shot in the Tuesday night contender series but unfortunately fell short , but it is only a matter of time till we see JP earn his shot with the UFC.
6. BK Masunyane
BK is one of the most exciting fighters to ever grace the Octagon. He brings a flare of excitement which always makes hima huge draw and fan favorite. The ‘Little Giant’ has also increased his stock with a neat 5-0 record as a pro. He has dominated all his opponents along the way and rarely looked troubled. BK is truly in a league of his own and a massive crowd favorite. The UFC would be lucky to have him.
Note: I do also feel Martin Van Staaden can make a run in the UFC. Time might not be on his side but “The Punisher” has been surging since his move to lightweight , claming the EFC belt along the way . Perhaps one or two more big wins and reclaiming the belt could persuade the UFC top brass to signing one of SA’s most highly acclaimed MMA athletes