It’s another huge fight week for the UFC and with it comes a main event spotlight for a former Cage Warriors world champion.
The promotion has fostered a 20+ year reputation as the number one pathway for European tallent to Ultimate Fighting Championship, effectively establishing itself as ‘The Draft’ for athletes looking to join the world leader.
Following the success of former CW women’s flyweight champ Molly McCann at UFC Fight Night: Dolidze vs Imavov, former middleweight champion Jack ‘The Joker’ Hermansson takes centre stage on Saturday night.
The Norwegian powerhouse will take the main event slot for the fifth time in his UFC career, as he headlines opposite fast-rising American prospect Joe Pyfer at The Apex.
Hermansson started his career in the famous yellow gloves way back in 2011, knocking out UKMMA veteran Ali Arish with a stunning head kick.
He’d return later that year at CW Fight Night 2 in Amman, Jordan to stop then-prospect Mike ‘Big Daddy’ Ling with another big KO, this time in the very first round.
Following a pair of assignments outside the organisation, ‘The Joker’ returned to embark on his most dominant run yet.
First up was a Scandinavian homecoming, stopping Enoc Solves Torres via submission to strikes at Cage Warriors 66.
From there, a wild three-rounder against dangerous KO artist Ion Pascu saw Hermansson’s hand raised by judges’ decision for the first time in his career.
The performances earned him a shot at the vacant middleweight title, on what was then one of the biggest events in the promotion’s history, Super Saturday.
Hermansson defeated the heavily favoured Frenchman Norman Paraisey via submission to capture the gold, which he defended with a pair of memorable knockouts against Dayan Topalski and Alan Carlos, before the UFC inevitably came calling.
The former amateur wrestling standout has called the UFC home ever since, with 16 bouts in the promotion across his seven-plus year tenure.
Having taken a year out since his last bout – another main event showing against Roman Dolidze – the current #11 ranked UFC middleweight is set for a return to the top 10 with a win over the highly touted KO artist Pyfer.
Hermansson is far from the only notable Cage Warriors middleweight to appear under the UFC banner. From Michael Bisping, Chris Fields, Jesse Taylor, John Phillips, Oscar Piechota and Jack Marshman to Christian Leroy Duncan, many have made the jump to the hallowed Octagon.
The only question remains…who’ll be the next 185’lb’er to follow in their footsteps?