The Draft of European MMA continued on Tuesday night, as Cage Warriors standout Oban Elliott became the latest in a long line of athletes to earn a UFC contract after strapping on the famous yellow gloves.
The 25 year old, from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales took part in the toughest job interview in sports this week, appearing on Dana White’s Contender Series in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The format sees UFC hopefuls compete in the promotion’s Apex facility in front of matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard and – crucially – head honcho Dana White himself.
Elliott had drawn arguably one of the toughest fighters scheduled to appear on this series of the UFC Fight Pass show, OKTAGON welterweight champion Kaik Brito, who took a formidable 16-4 record (including 16 finishes) into their bout.
Ahead of the contest, and throughout his Cage Warriors career, Elliott talked about the importance of fulfilling his late father’s legacy and making a better life for himself, his mother and his family.
All ten of Elliott’s prior professional bouts had taken place under the CW banner, where he was also a Cage Warriors Academy welterweight champion and Cage Warriors Academy Grand Prix champion as an amateur.
Developing the tools of his trade in the pro ranks, the Welshman put together an impressive 8-2 run in the yellow gloves, bouncing back from his few missteps in emphatic fashion.
‘The Welsh Gangster’ rode a four-fight winning streak into his DWCS appearance, including victories over former CW middleweight champion Matt Bonner and welterweight contender James Sheehan.
In what proved to be a nail-biting Tuesday night tear-up, Elliott took the first round from Brito before enduring a massive second-round rally from the Brazilian.
Digging deep both physically and mentally to win the third round, Elliott took a majority decision on the scorecards and earned a coveted UFC contract from Dana White.
“…this kid is all heart, he’s all toughness and he’s definitely full of personality…” said White, upon assessing Elliott’s performance.
“I don’t know anybody who wants it badder than this kid does.”
Elliott joins fellow CW alumni Jake Hadley and Cory McKenna in earning a UFC contract via DWSC.
He also follows in the footsteps of countrymen John Phillips, Jack Marshman, Mason Jones, Brett Johns and Jack Shore in being among the first Welsh fighters in the UFC following careers in Cage Warriors.
With more CW athletes set to compete on the Contender Series in September, plus a trio of new UFC signings taking centre stage at UFC Paris, ‘The Draft of MMA’ is very much alive and well!