Top Caribbean MMA Fighters You Should Know

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Uriah Hall of Jamaica poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 31, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Nov. 11, 2021: Despite its infancy in the sporting industry, Mixed Martial Arts, (MMA), has already built up some legends. In its 28 years as a professional sport, numerous fighters have made their way into the ring, with a number of them being Caribbean fighters in the UFC roster.

MMA and the introduction of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 1993 led the sport to rival boxing in its audience and fighter recognition. After the sports’ debut on television in 2005, awareness and interest in the sport exploded and has now garnered a global audience, including countries in the Caribbean.

Today, the UFC is broadcast in 165 different countries, via more than 60 global broadcast partners, and in over 40 different languages. UFC fans include a large percentage of millennials – 40% of its total audience, compared to other top sports. With its goal being to find the ultimate fighting champion, which MMA fighters have made it into the top charts of all time? Thousands of men and women have entered the MMA and UFC scene since its inception. Any athlete who competes is worthy of a mention, but with so many to consider, here are some of the more noteworthy ones who belong to the Caribbean.

Uriah Hall

Weight class: Middleweight

Wins: 14 out of 27

Jamaican-born Uriah Hall started his fighting career as a kickboxer before turning to MMA in 2013 when he was selected as a fighter for the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter. At the end of the tournament, he was selected as the Runner Up as well as awarded with the title of the Ultimate Knockout of the Season.

Hall was also awarded Performance of the Night when up against Gegard Mousasi and Krzysztof Jotko and was tied for most knockout victories in UFC Middleweight division history with Anderson Silva and Thiago Santos.

Hall has a 2nd-degree black belt in Kyokushin Karate and a Blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Eddie Gordon

Eddie Gordon (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Weight class: Middleweight

Wins: 8 out of 15

Gordon, born in Jamaica, has been an MMA professional since 2011. He was cast in the 19th season of The Ultimate Fighter in 2014 and was ultimately crowned winner of this season. In 2017 Gordon was again cast to compete in the 25th season, The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption.

Gordon has since finished competing and holds a Blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Yves Edwards

Yves Edwards. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Weight class: Lightweight

Wins: 42 out of 66

A professional MMA fighter and competitor from 1997 to 2014, Edwards – who was born in the Bahamas – was once crowned the number one lightweight in the world. He was awarded Fight of the Night twice, Knockout of the Night once, and Submission of the Night once during his time with the UFC.

Aside from competing in the UFC, Edwards competed for PRIDE, the WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator, EliteXC, King of the Cage, BodogFIGHT, the MFC, and HDNet Fights. Edwards holds a Black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Yosdenis Cedeno

Yosdenis Cedeno. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Weight class: Lightweight

Wins: 11 out of 19

As a Cuban-American MMA fighter, Cedeno started his career in 2009 and joined the UFC in 2014. Despite not having won any UFC titles and no longer competing in the UFC, Cedeno is still an active athlete in the fighting sport. Today he fights in the up-and-coming bare-knuckle boxing and won his most recent match against Alan Arzeno on 16 June 2021.

Cedeno holds a Black belt in Shitō-ryū Karate.

Up and coming Caribbean MMA fighters

Tapology, the online MMA ranking network, has also ranked some highly-rated Caribbean amateurs to watch on the MMA scene; from Omar Smith, ranked number one in the featherweight class, to Rafi Peralta, ranked number one in the Bantamweight class and Luis De Jesus, ranked number one in the Flyweight class.

Looking to keep an eye on MMA rankings? Tapology is your go-to resource. It formulates real-time, current MMA rankings based on geographic eligibility, weight classes, match wins and losses, opponents, fight frequency, and experience.

Women in MMA

Dulce Encarnacion of the DR

Despite being male-dominated, women made their debut in the sport in 2012. After Ronda Rousey won her first UFC match in the bantamweight class, additional weight classes have since been added, as more women joined the sport and industry. These include a select few women from the Caribbean, including Dulce Encarnacion from the Dominican Republic, in the Flyweight class.

In summary

Despite being a relatively new sport compared to the history of some others, MMA has brought a significant number of fighters and champions to the scene. MMA has proved its worth in the fighting realm, and Caribbean-born fighters are making a name for themselves amongst some of the sports’ greats. Keep an eye out for our top-named pros, but also the amateurs making their way up the rankings.