As 2023 ended with Birmingham’s own, Leon Edwards reigning supreme over the welterweight division, there appears to be a boom of British MMA. Tom Aspinall is the interim heavyweight champion of the world, Paddy Pimblett just picked up the biggest win of his career, Molly McCann looks for success in a new weight class and Muhammad Mokaev looks on the brink of UFC gold and with that, we take a look at five Brits to keep an eye on in 2024.
Five Brits to Watch in 2024
1 – Michael Venom Page
The UFC’s most recent blockbuster signing is set for a huge 2024. The former Bellator title challenger, flashy knockout artist and captivating personality, Michael ‘Venom’ Page holds an impressive record of 21-2 and already avenged one of his losses, a knockout at the hands of Douglas Lima.
The karate style of Page is what makes him so exciting for fans with his hands down, utilising lightning-quick reactions to avoid strikes, always living on the edge and willing to throw wild strikes.
Page will meet fellow flashy striker, Kevin Holland at UFC 299 and a big win on that occasion could catapult him to UFC stardom.
2 – Dakota Ditcheva
One of the breakout stars of 2023, Dakota Ditcheva is set for a huge 2024. At 25 years old with a record of 10-0, the former Muay Thai star shone in the PFL’s European flyweight tournament. Although she was a heavy favourite heading into the tournament, few believed she’d be just as dominant as she was. Three fights, three finishes, all of which showed a well-rounded skillset.
Dakota Ditcheva (@dakotadofficial) is the @PFLEurope women's flyweight champion after Valentina Scatizzi is stopped between rounds with a swollen left eye. Ditcheva's nasty Muay Thai clinch did the damage, and now she's the champ. #PFLDublin pic.twitter.com/fcb8HNz54s
— Simon Head (@simonheadsport) December 8, 2023
One of the faces of the PFL, the company are investing a lot in the career of Ditcheva. There’s little to no doubt that she’s going to be a megastar, is in the perfect promotion at this time and will continue to prosper this year.
She will compete in the PFL 2024 flyweight tournament and could massively benefit from the PFL-Bellator merger.
3 – Paddy Pimblett
Paddy ‘The Baddy’ Pimblett only competed once in 2023, however, it was, without a doubt the biggest win of his career. Pimblett dominated Tony Ferguson to a unanimous decision victory. After an injury that kept him out for the majority of last year, Pimblett will be hoping to if stay fit and make make a real dent in the top 15 of a very exciting lightweight division.
He’s a massive star and should be headlining a fight night before the end of the year. He’s certainly on the brink of a ranking, however, needs another notable win before cracking the top 15. With a win over a reputable foe early in the year, there’s little doubt he’d set himself up for a solid 2024.
4 – Melissa Dixon
‘No Mess’, Melissa Dixon debuted in October of last year when she dominated Irina Alekseeva to a unanimous decision victory. Coventry’s own is undefeated at 6-0 and has competed in Golden Ticket Fight Promotions as well as Ares.
She’s certainly motivated and can breathe a breath of fresh air into a stale women’s bantamweight division. Chelsea Chandler should be next. She’s ranked at 135lbs, despite never competing at the weight in the UFC. Dixon deserves that spot and let’s hope that the Brit can get it.
5 – Nathaniel Wood
Despite losing his last outing, Nathaniel ‘The Prospect’ Wood is set for a big 2024. Having moved up to featherweight, he looked like a killer, dominating three straight fights. Although he dropped his last bout to Muhammad Naimov, it came in controversial fashion. Wood appealed the loss due to multiple fouls, however, was unsuccessful.
The former Cage Warriors champion needs to get out early in 2024 as he’s expecting his first child which will, of course, keep him out for a period of time. If Wood can pick up two wins in 2024, it cements a huge year for him.
One’s to Watch
- Lexi Rook (2-1)
- Connor Hughes (7-1)
- Lewis McGrillen-Evans (8-1)
- Sammy Jo-Luxton (1-0)
- George Hardwick (12-2)