Hoist a Boddingtons’s – Paul Daley is coming to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Following the collapse of Affliction Entertainment, the British banger agreed to a four fight deal in the UFC and should figure large in the promotion’s next wave of UK promotion.
Dan Henderson’s thunderous American right hand forced Michael Bisping to do his best Ricky Hatton impression at UFC 100, which was a great reminder that one star isn’t enough to carry the promotion in an entire country.
The UFC understands its push into the UK cannot rest on Bisping, hence “The Ultimate Fighter: USA versus UK.” But the show didn’t produce any standout personalities from England despite graduating three quality talents in Ross Pearson, Andre Winner and Nick Osipczak. Not everyone can be a reality stars and solid prospects like Paul Taylor, Paul Kelly and Terry Etim entered the Octagon the old fashioned way. Daley is the best of both worlds—a natural personality already groomed for stardom by Cage Rage and EliteXC, who has taken on the best non-UFC competition available.
At 26-years-old with over 30 fights (21-8-2) to his credit, the Cage Rage standout adds serious weight to the UFC’s British roster, and Daley’s “Money” Mayweather flair and serious skills in the cage — a record of 8-2 in his last 10 bouts with losses to then-top welterweights Jake Shields and Nick Thompson, with all of his wins via stoppage — will be a promotional boon to the UFC.
Recently, Daley’s accolades—he’s the only person to see the second round against Jake Shields in two years and the only person to stop John Alessio in 38 bouts— have been overshadowed by an inability to make weight. He also abruptly announced his retirement in 2008, which led to questions about his mental stability. If Daley dedicates himself to the overall game, his explosive sprawl and brawl and ever-improving ground defense could spell trouble for many UFC welterweights and fans should drink to that.