Updated: Oct 14
There's a clear king of the pro light heavyweight division, as Thornton MMA fighter, William "Nightmare" Knight (7-1), is on the brink of becoming a rostered UFC fighter, and the regions next potential MMA superstar. Knight has been incredibly active on the New England regional scene, amassing 17 fights between amateur and pro over the past 4 years. He went 8-1 as an ammy, and now holds a 7-1 record as a pro. Knight certainly hasn't taken the easy road on his journey to #1, as he's racked up quality wins over #2 ranked Terrance Jean-Jacques (5-2), #5 ranked Kevin Haley (6-6), Jamelle Jones (9-6), and Herdem Alacabek (5-1) on the Contender Series. That win in front of Dana White earned Knight a developmental deal with the UFC, as they didn't feel he was ready to compete at the next level and earn a full contract, but saw his high ceiling potential. Knight has fought 3 times since appearing on the Contender Series, putting together a 2-1 record while fighting on UFC FightPass under the CES and CFFC banners. Knight is one of the brightest prospects on the New England circuit. He's got the physique of a Greek god, and is an athletic specimen, but his striking needs to evolve to have success against top tier competition. Knight has the potential to be a ranked UFC light heavyweight if he can put it all together. He's 32 years old, but he's only been fighting for a little over 4 years, so he doesn't have the wear and tear that many his age in the sport do. Look for Knight to secure 1-2 more quality wins with CES before being called up by Sean Shelby, Mick Maynard, and Dana White.
Terrance Jean-Jacques (5-2) grabs the #2 ranking in our pro light heavyweight division, as the former collegiate wrestler has been able to grind his way through most of his fights. He has quality wins against #9 ranked heavyweight Ras Hylton (5-4), and an always tough Shedrick Goodridge (7-12). He also lost via TKO to #1 Knight back in his debut. Jean-Jacques has some of the best wrestling chops in New England, and he uses it wisely, making his opponents play his game. If he runs into a fighter who can stuff his takedown attempts, then Terrance could be in for some trouble, as his striking game lacks aggression and power. This is fixable though, and with proper coaching and mentoring, Jean-Jacques could have a clear path to the Contender Series in the next year or two.
25 year old Sityodtong product Fabio Cherant (4-1) hasn't fought since getting TKO'ed by current UFC LHW Aleksa Camur on the Contender Series back in July of 2019. It's been difficult for Cherant to line up fights, as he's an aggressive striker who's shown to have some serious power in his standup game. He's athletic, physical, and has legit coaching in his corner. The kid has a shot to make some serious waves on the next level, but he'll need to secure some quality wins to his record before the major promotions come calling. Keep an eye for Cherant to step into the CES or Cage Titans cage once fights get back underway again.
There are 3 fighters in our LHW rankings that have a legit shot at being in the big show within the next 2 years, and the smartest thing for those top 3 to do is to avoid fighting each other until they get that call. Those 3 should either be picking off people lower in the rankings, or bringing in out of the region talent with solid records to beat up on.