UFC Champions and ex- Cage Warriors favourites Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Michael Bisping fight alongside Joe Duffy at the Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
If ever there was an example of Cage Warriors’ ability to launch careers to the very summit of world MMA, this Saturday’s UFC 217 card is it. Joanna Jedrzejczyk fights to tie Ronda Rousey’s 15-0 undefeated record and Michael Bisping looks to beat yet another legend of the sport after a run of incredible wins over the last 2 years. Joseph Duffy, who has lost only once since joining the UFC in 2015, also looks to leave New York the victor with a win over James Vick. The thing that all three fighters have in common is history. It all began in the Cage Warriors octagon.
Joseph Duffy fought six times with Cage Warriors between 2011-2014. In that time, he picked up five impressive wins with four coming within the distance. His performances under the Cage Warriors lights no doubt arrested the attention of the biggest MMA promotions in the world and the UFC signed him shortly after. In his Cage Warriors debut, Joe finished perhaps the most talked-about MMA star on planet earth in Conor McGregor in just 38 seconds, dealing the fellow Irishman one of his few career losses to date. UFC Star and ex-Cage Warriors Middleweight Champion Dan Hardy sheds more light on Duffy’s CW career below.
It’s hard to know where to begin with Joanna Jedrzejczyk. She’s beaten the absolute best in the division with ease: Jessica Andrade, Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz to name just a few. She hasn’t been beaten in 14 fights, has landed more strikes in title fights than any other fighter on the roster and maintains a pace that frankly hasn’t been matched in recent years. She’s undoubtedly the best straw weight fighter on the planet today.
Perhaps we’re biased, perhaps we just love to root for our own. But we think one of the standout performances of Joanna’s career was her victory over Rosi Sexton at Cage Warriors 69 in 2014, which is widely regarded as the fight that earned her the famed UFC contract. When we matched this fight, we thought it’d be a back-and-forth war between two up and coming stars. What actually happened was one of the most dominant showings during Joanna’s rise to the top, and a fight that truly showcased her status as one of the absolute best to ever step into the octagon. Rewatch the bout below and you’ll find it hard to disagree.
Michael Bisping makes his 28th UFC appearance on Saturday night, which is tied as the most in the promotion’s history. He has the most wins in UFC history and his 16 victories in UFC middleweight competition are the most in divisional history. The numbers make this man truly one of the greatest fighters to have ever lived.
Before his reign in the UFC, Bisping fought four times with Cage Warriors, with not one of those victories going the distance. His 3 submissions and 1 TKO finish put him in the international spotlight and saw him sail to the UFC just six months after his last CW bout, and the rest was left to the history books. Whatever you think of Michael Bisping, you watch him fight. His bouts never fail to provide fireworks and we can’t wait to see him in action again this Saturday night, when we’ll be rooting for the champ to retain his title and add another win to an already stellar career. All hail ‘The Count’.