He’s not quite a title-contender, but featherweight Dennis Bermudez has the potential to be as an excellent wrestler with power to boot. Since making it to the finals on TUF 14, Bermudez has gone on to win a quartet of consecutive clashes in the Octagon including victories over Pablo Garza, Matt Grice, and Max Holloway. With Nik Lentz on the horizon at UFC Fight Night 31, Bermudez could very well end up emerging as a major player at 145 in 2014 to the delight of his friends and family back in Saugerties. Granted, Costa Philippou wasn’t born in New York. However, the Cyprus native moved there close to a decade ago and has been welcomed with open arms by the State’s residents. Truly, given his love of striking and willingness to exchange blows, can you blame them? Adding to his appeal, Philippou has also racked up five straight wins, putting him a victory or two away from challenging for the middleweight strap. Fans may not necessarily think of Rashad Evans as a New York fighter but, sure enough, the Ultimate Fighter 2 winner was born in Niagara Falls. A former title-holder, “Sugar” ‘Shad is one of the UFC’s biggest stars due to his blend of speed, technique, and ability to talk trash. He’s also worked his way into a part-time broadcasting gig doing pre/post-event analysis. 29-year old Chris Weidman has been fighting for less than five years and he’s already established himself as the best middleweight in the world. While being #1 is a feat in itself, Weidman’s knockout of all-time great Anderson Silva to achieve such status was an equally impressive accomplishment. Like so many of his fellow New Yorkers, Weidman has a tremendous great work ethic and, as a result, the well-rounded, still raw champ should definitely end up staying in the title picture for years to come. 205-pound king Jon Jones isn’t just the best fighter from New York – he’s arguably the best fighter in the world. The 26-year old champion would be unbeaten without a controversial disqualification defeat coming in a bout he was easily on the cusp of winning, and he’s since gone on to take out a number of top competitors including former title-holders like Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans, Quinton Jackson, Mauricio Rua, and Lyoto Machida. If he gets by Alexander Gustafsson next weekend at UFC 165, “Bones” will own the notable distinction of having the most successful defenses of the light heavyweight belt in promotional history.
New Yorkers have always been known for their fighting spirit, showing the ability to overcome adversity with ease and do what it takes to come out on top in the end. Such characteristics can be seen on display in the Octagon a handful of weekends out of the year thanks to the select few fighters in the
UFC who hail from the Empire State including a former champion as well as two men who currently hold divisional gold. While they aren’t the only Mixed Martial Artists in the game to come from New York, they are certainly the cream of the crop. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)