For over twenty years, Cage Warriors has established itself as the #1 route to the UFC for athletes from the UK, Europe and beyond.

This Saturday night, two recent CW alumni will take to the cage for the world leader in what could be pivotal career bouts.

Irish MMA mainstay Paul Browne takes a look at the match-ups!

Two former Cage Warriors title holders, Rhys McKee and Caolan Loughran, will be in action at UFC Fight Night in Atlantic City on March 30th.

McKee will face off against the experienced Chidi ‘Chidi Bang Bang’ Njokuani, while Loughran takes on Contender Series alumni Angel Pacheco.

McKee’s journey through Cage Warriors to the UFC has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride.

He went 3-0 in the yellow gloves between 2018-2019, picking up impressive victories over Jefferson George, Perry Goodwin and Kakan Foss, before losing his UFC debut to Khamzat Chimaev on short notice in July 2020.

In November of that year, he dropped a close decision loss to UFC veteran Alex Morono and found himself released by the promotion.

The Ballymena man picked himself up in impressive fashion, returning to Cage Warriors in late 2021 and reeling off the 3 most impressive victories of his career.

Rhys McKee celebrates with the Belfast crowd

Starting with a striking clinic against Aleksi Mantykivi at CW 129, he’d follow up with an all-time classic comeback victory to win the 170lb belt against Justin Burlinson at CW 140 in Belfast, and a dominant victory over MMA legend Jimmy Wallhead to unify the division in Dublin at CW 153 last April.

After narrowly losing a tough UFC comeback fight against Ange Loosa in France, McKee faces a massive challenge when he takes on Njokuani in Atlantic City.

The American holds a 22-10 record and moves down from middleweight for the first time in his long career in a bid to halt a 3-fight losing streak.

McKee will be hoping for a fast start, and that his all-action style will be too much for Njokuani to handle.

Loughran is also aiming to get back in the win column when he squares off against Pacheco.

Caolan Loughran en route to winning CW gold

The Tyrone bantamweight had to deal with a last-minute opponent change in Paris and lost a decision to the vastly more experienced Taylor Lapilus, ending his unbeaten start to his professional career.

During his short tenure in the yellow gloves, ‘The Don’ beat (and finished) Bakhtyaar Orakhail, Festus Ahorlu and Luke Shanks, before claiming 135lb gold in a memorable title fight in Rome against Dylan Hazan.

Both fighters will be hoping to kickstart their UFC careers with victories here, and continue the trend of former Cage Warriors fighters climbing through the UFC ranks. UFC Fight Night: Atlantic City takes place on Saturday 30th March on UFC Fight Pass.