Mexican UFC Fighters: The Outlook

18/12/2020

Mexico has been characterized by having very good athletes who perform in contact sports and UFC is no exception. There are about 25 Mexicans who are part of the most important mixed martial arts (MMA) company in the world. 

Some of them are more outstanding than others, even winning world championships. Here is a list of Mexican UFC fighters with their most outstanding achievements.

Cain Velasquez

Despite being born in Salinas, California, USA, Cain has always expressed himself as proudly Mexican because of his parents' roots. His height of 1.85 meters, as well as his weight of 109 kilos, have catapulted him to the top of the heavy division. He made his official debut in UFC in 2008 with a victory for TKO over Brad Morris. Two years later he managed to win the world championship by defeating Brock Lesnar. He later lost it in defense against Júnior dos Santos, from whom he took it away months later to be crowned for the second time.

Alexa Grasso

Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco in 1993. In 2012 she made her debut in MMA but it was not until 2016 that she did it in the UFC against Heather Jo Clark in The Ultimate Fighter Latin America. That fight she ended up winning. A year later, when she faced Felice Herrig, she lost for the first time in the company. To date, it is her only defeat as she holds a record of 10 wins, one loss, and zero draws.

Kelvin Gastelum

A case similar to that of Cain Velasquez since he was born in San Jose, California but his roots are Mexican and he considers himself as such. He started at MMA but was quickly accepted into The Ultimate Fighter and won the show hands down. There he attracted the attention of the UFC and they ended up signing him in 2013. He debuted with a victory over Brian Melancon and his career has clearly been on the rise. His most notable achievement to date is winning The Ultimate Fighter 17 show and his record as a professional is 15 wins, three losses and zero draws.

These are the highlights of the moment after the departure of Yair "El Pantera" Rodriguez. However, there are more than 25 Mexican UFC fighters, and here is the complete list.

Mexican UFC fighters by category and place of birth

Cain Velasquez, Heavyweight, Salinas, California

Alexa Grasso, Strawweight, Guadalajara, Jalisco.

Kelvin Gastelum, Welterweight and Mediumweight, San Jose, California.

Efrain Escudero, Lightweight, San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora.

Édgar García, Welterweight, San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora.

Alex Soto, Welterweight, San Diego, California.

Will Campuzano, Bantamweight, Acapulco, Guerrero.

Tony Ferguson, Lightweight Silao, Guanajuato.

Érik Pérez, Bantamweight, Guadalupe, Nuevo Léon.

Francisco Treviño, Lightweight, Reynosa, Tamaulipas.

Juan Puig, Featherweight, Izucar de Matamoros, Puebla.

Akbahr Arreola, Lightweight, Tijuana, Baja California.

Rodolfo Rubio, Featherweight, Mexico City, Mexico.

Marco Beltran, Flyweight, Mexico City, Mexico.

Henry Briones, Bantamweight, Tijuana, Baja California.

Gabriel Benitez, Featherweight, Tijuana, Baja California.

Alejandro Perez, Bantamweight, San Jose, California.

José Quiñonez, Bantamweight, San Diego, California.

Héctor Urbina, Welterweight, Monterrey, Mexico.

Salvador Montaño, Welterweight, Mexico City, Mexico.

Masiosare Fullen, Featherweight, Guadalajara, Jalisco.

Jessica Aguilar, Strawweight, Poza Rica, Veracruz.

Marco Polo Reyes, Lightweight, Tepic, Nayarit.

Alvaro Herrera, Welterweight, Guadalajara, Jalisco.

Horacio Gutierrez, Featherweight, Guadalajara, Jalisco.

Erick Montaño, Welterweight, Mexico City, Mexico.

Héctor Sandoval Uruapan, Flyweight, Michoacán.

Yair Rodriguez suspended for six months

The Mexican UFC fighter Yair Rodriguez will be out of action for the first months of 2021, and his fight against Zabit Magomedsharipov will have to wait. USADA announced that the featherweight was suspended for six months for not turning over his location for surprise tests. The regulator is requiring each UFC fighter to notify where he will be or travel, and when the fighter cannot be located, it ends in a wake-up call. Three such failures are followed by punishment for what happened.

Through a statement, USADA reported that none of the violations were of a suspicious nature or with intent to deceive the agency, and their punishment was reduced to six months. The suspension came into effect on September 8, "El Pantera" will be able to compete again in March 2021.

Rodriguez is not the first fighter to be suspended for this, fighters like Donald Cerrone and Nick Diaz have already been through the same situation. Diaz was suspended 1 year after not being found three times. Yair saw action in October of last year, when he beat Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision at UFC Boston. Prior to the No Contest against Stephens in Mexico, he surprised and knocked out Chan Sung Jung in the UFC Denver All-Star fight.

History of the UFC in Mexico

UFC 180

The first event of this type with Mexican UFC fighters took place on November 15, 2014. In the leading fight, Cain Velasquez, defending heavyweight champion, announced his retirement from the fight due to a knee injury, when the tickets had practically sold out. Fabrício Werdum had to face Mark Hunt in an emergency duel that left a sour taste for the local fans. That night virtually no fights took place as advertised on the billboard.

In another preliminary match, Norman Parke would face Diego Sanchez. However, Parke retired at practically the same time as Velasquez, also citing a knee problem, and was replaced by Joe Lauzon. But both Lauzon and Sanchez arrived injured and the fight did not take place that day. Erik Perez, Marcus Brimage's rival, also had to retire because of a shoulder injury. Brimage was pulled from the event and fought Jumabieke Tuerxun only a few days later in Sydney, Australia.

UFC 188

Trying to make up for the disappointment of the Mexicans, the UFC organized its 188th edition again in Mexico City on June 13, 2015, a few months after the fiasco of its debut in the Mexico City Arena, which showed its confidence and re-stocked the stadium, which finally saw the fight it was promised. In the fight for the unification of the heavyweights, Velasquez, the defending champion, was not injured in the qualifying round, but was defeated by Werdum, the interim champion, thanks to a guillotine in the third episode.

UFC Fight Night 98

On November 5, 2016, the CFU returned to Mexico and did so, for the first time, with no absences. In the star fight, Tony Ferguson beat Rafael Dos Anjos in the lightweight category, exhausting all the time and by unanimous decision. However, that day the Mexico City Arena was only half full, with a little more than 11,000 attendees, below the first two appearances, in which more than 21,000 people attended.

UFC Fight Night 114

The penultimate time the UFC was in Mexico was on August 5, 2017, when in the star battle Sergio Pettis defeated Brandon Moreno for the flyweight, and in the co-star duel, this one in the female category, Alexa Grasso beat Randa Markos.

UFC Fight Night 159

It was the most expected fight of the night. The Mexican Yair "El Puma" Rodriguez was the host of the American Jeremy Stephens in the closing of the day that marked the return of MMA to Mexico. But 15 seconds after the start, it all ended untimely. The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) returned to Mexico after two years, with several bouts in the Mexico City Arena, but the end of the day was full of controversy and fury.

In the first episode and in the first exchange between Rodriguez and Stephens, the Mexican threw his hand with the fingers extended from top to bottom making contact with the left eye of the American, who after five minutes of waiting could not open it. The fans by then were already very upset because they believed first that the fighter was faking it. However, the doctor who came in to treat Stephens didn't hesitate to tell the judge that the fight couldn't go on, since the Des Moines, Iowa, native couldn't see clearly.

The doctor then made his announcement. The crowd at the precinct, located in the north of Mexico City, began booing even louder. Then, some began throwing their plastic cups into the octagon, where fighting of this kind takes place. Several followed suit and began throwing their own cups, some still with liquid inside. Some fell very close to Stephens, who for a moment stopped suffering and faced the fans, who soaked his team.

A few minutes later, the American had to be removed by a group of escorts who surrounded and protected him to prevent any object from hitting him on the body or head. The men, dressed in suits, were also bathed on their way to the changing rooms. Following the judge's announcement to declare the fight as "no contest", in Spanish "sin disputa", which is a term used in this type of combat discipline where the fight is declared over for reasons that are not in the hands of either fighter, without a winner or loser, Rodriguez took his hands to his head as a sign of disbelief.