There are many Michigan based fighters that compete inside the UFC octagon. We will take a look at how the fighters from Michigan are faring in the UFC.
How are fighters from Michigan faring in the UFC?
Tony Ferguson (25-5)
Although the man was born in California, Tony Ferguson grew up mostly in Muskegon, Michigan. 2020 was easily the worst year for “El Cucuy” in his professional MMA career.
After suffering back-to-back losses for the first time in his career, Ferguson seems to be at a crossroads after losing two fights consecutively to Justin Gaethje and Charles Oliviera. Prior to the two losses this year, “El Cucuy” had not lost since 2012 and was on a legendary 12 fight win streak. Ferguson’s losses may have come as a slight shock to some people especially considering he was the betting favourite for both fights.
His most recent loss to Oliveira sparked a narrative from fans dismissing Ferguson as ‘done’, ‘finished’ or that his ‘career is over’. At 37 years old and with a lot of miles on the man in terms of damage taken throughout his career, we may be seeing the slow decline of the Michigan-raised fighter.
Competing in professional MMA since 2008, hopefully “El Cucuy” can prove the odds wrong and return to the dominant form that saw him capture the UFC lightweight interim belt in 2017 and capture the aura he once had with victories over Rafael dos Anjos, Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone.
Cody Stamann (19-3-1)
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Cody Stamann lost his last outing against the experienced Jimmie Riviera back in July last year and will be looking to get back in the winning column in 2021. Before the loss, the “Spartan” overcame a massive emotional hurdle defeating Brian Kelleher shortly after the death of his 18-year old brother Jacob earlier that year.
Stamann’s next opponent will be against Andre Ewell on February 6th according to bjpenn.com. Originally scheduled to face Merab Dvalishvili, the Georgian fighter was forced to pull out due to the after-effects of COVID-19 complications. The two were supposed to fight in December but both athletes contracted COVID-19 which forced the bout to be pushed back.
With a record of 19-3-1, Stamann has wins over Terion Ware, Bryan Caraway and Alejandro Pérez. A loss to current no.1 bantamweight contender Aljamain Sterling back in 2018 snapped a 10-fight winning streak for the Michigan native. Ranked no.13 in the UFC bantamweight division, Stamann will be hoping to crack the top 10 in the coming future.
Jamahal Hill (8-0)
The hottest rising contender to come out from Michigan right now is Jamahal “Sweet Dreams” Hill. Born in Chicago, Illinois, the American moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan at the age of 12.
Currently undefeated in his MMA career, Hill got his big break and earned his UFC contract after he impressed the UFC president at Dana White’s Contender Series in July 2019 when he finished Alexander Poppeck by TKO.
On his UFC debut, “Sweet Dreams” won by unanimous decision against Darko Stošić and has kept his momentum riding high as he went on to defeat UFC veteran Ovince Saint Preux – by far the biggest win of his career. Hill impressed many by knocking out Saint Preux in the second round, already earning himself a no.15 ranking in the light heavyweight division.
Hill is scheduled to fight Paul Craig in March and looks to work his way up the rankings. Hill has massive potential and has demonstrated he has vicious knockout power. By means of legal betting in Michigan, make sure you cash your money in on your hometown boy.
Kevin Lee (18-6)
Born in Grand Rapids and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Kevin Lee proudly reps the city he is from in his nickname “The Motown Phenom”. With four losses in his last six bouts, Lee is going through a mixed phase in his MMA career.
In his first 11 UFC bouts in which Lee won nine of them, the Michigan native established as one of the top tier names in the lightweight division, eventually leading to a shot at the interim lightweight belt to which he fell short against Tony Ferguson in 2017.
After achieving early UFC success, Lee has seen mixed results in recent years. A loss to Al Iaquinta in 2018 compelled him to try welterweight to which he lost to Rafael Dos Anjos after the extra weight seemed to make Lee gas out in the fight.
Facing potentially three losses in a row, Lee showed up brilliantly against Gregor Gillespie when the “Motown Phenom” knocked Gillespie out spectacularly with a head kick KO. The fight looked like a turning point for Lee as he looked focused and sharp with many people pointing to his win as a result of changing training camp to work with the legendary Firas Zahabi.
However, in his most recent fight in March 2020, Lee fell short against Charles Olivieira, falling victim to a guillotine choke submission in a fight where sportsbooks had Lee the favorite. “The Motown Phenom” also missed the 155 pounds lightweight limit, a fourth time in his career. It seems that Lee suffers from being too big for the lightweight 155 pounds but the welterweight 170 pounds seems like a jump too much as he suffers from cardio issues in that weight. If only there was a 165-pound division in the UFC as Lee would fit perfectly into that.
Lee does not currently have a fight scheduled but suggested after his last fight, that it may be “a few years” before we get to see him back in the octagon. Hopefully, we’ll see Lee bounce back from the loss soon.