5 Filipino fighters likely to sign with the UFC

With the UFC slowly making its way into Asia, it seems only a matter of time before we start seeing more and more Filipinos signing with the promotion. So here’s a rundown of some of the prime candidates for the UFC roster.

We already have Team Lakay fighters Dave Galera and Mark Eddiva fighting in UFC, and we shouldn’t be surprised if more Pinoy fighters get drafted into the promotion in the near future.

After chatting with some of my fellow writers on DojoDrifter.com, we’ve established that the UFC seems to have some standards when picking whom to sign to their roster.

Mark eddiva

1. Age- Among the fighters they’ve recruited from Asia, none exceed thirty years old, and all have young and very promising careers.

2. Fight record- The UFC is said to sign fighters whose records look good on paper. In fact, the two Filipino fighters that have been signed by the UFC, Galera and Eddiva, were undefeated finishers upon their signing.

3. Physicality- The latest Asian fighters to be signed by the UFC are physically fit for their weight classes. They aren’t fighting in a weight class above where they should be ideally fighting, nor are they at a severe height or reach disadvantage in their division.

4. Well-rounded- You’ll seldom see a UFC new-comer who’s a specialist, meaning he’s only good either on the ground or on the feet. UFC recruits are usually well-rounded and can hold their own both on the feet and on the canvas.

5. Non-ONE FC fighters– It’s no secret that the UFC still makes offers to fighters even if they’re already with ONE FC. And it’s no secret that ONE FC is open to releasing fighters from their contracts to allow them to pursue their UFC offers and goals. More often than not, though, if a Filipino fighter is with ONE FC, then he’s sticking with the promotion.

So given those criteria, here are the young, non-ONE FC fighters from the Philippines, who have good records, solid physicality, and sound overall skill, who would be ideal candidates for a UFC contract.

Eric Kelly

eric kelly

Last we checked, Kelly was with ONE FC, but we haven’t seen him fight in the ONE FC cage for well over a year. There have been rumors that he’s UFC bound but contractual issues have prevented him from jumping ship. He’s also been seen training with Cung Le at a UFC event in Manila, which he was invited to by the organizers, which could mean that the promotion is making a move for him, depending on how you look at it.

“The Natural” (10-1, 8 via submission) really is one of the most technical fighters in the Philippines, and if skill, record, size, and marketability were the only bases, then he’d be a prime candidate for a UFC contract.


Mark Striegl

mark Striegel

Young, exciting, well-rounded, physically fit, 12-1 as a pro, and one of the biggest draws of the PXC, Mark Striegl seems to be a shoe-in for a UFC contract. Given that he’s coming off a loss to Jung Yung Kim, he might need just one big win to bag a spot on the UFC roster.


Roldan Sangcha-an

roldan sangcha-an

According to an inside source, Sangcha-an was all set to fight at UFC Macau if not for the fact that the promotion couldn’t find him a suitable opponent in time for the event. He’s been linked to UFC in several rumors and he’s finished all four of his professional fights. He’s slated to get the next shot at the vacant PXC flyweight belt, and if he wins, then we could see him in the UFC sooner than later.


Harold Banario


The UFC has a history of signing fighters from Team Lakay and fighters from PXC: Banario is both. He’s also undefeated as a pro (4-0) and he satisfies all the criteria above.  With great size for the division and well rounded skills, Banario seems like an ideal pick for the UFC.


Rolando Dy

rolando dy

Dy is a very exciting fighter, he is massive for his division, he’s 5-2 as a pro, and he has solid wrestling and effective boxing. He’d definitely make a great addition to the UFC roster. In fact, an inside source told us that Dy was targeted to be a last-minute replacement fighter on the UFC Macau card, but since the offer was on such short notice, he was forced to decline the offer. It looks like the UFC is already eying this young prospect.


The country has plenty of talent–Glen Ranillo and Ernesto Montilla Jr are definitely in the mix of UFC prospects as well–and it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing more Pinoy fighters inside the Octagon.

Can you name other Filipino MMA fighters that you think are bound for the UFC?

Gab Pangalangan

Gab Pangalangan is a former collegiate national Judo champ and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of DojoDrifter.com. You can find his other works in the Philippines' leading magazines and websites.
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