Morgan Charriere: The New Face of French MMA?

Morgan Charriere poses with his title and nation's flag. Credit: Cage Warriors.

This past December, Morgan Charriere, 25, captured the featherweight championship in Cage Warriors, one of Europe’s premier MMA promotions. While having the Cage Warriors belt wrapped around his waist was the greatest accomplishment of his MMA career, the young Frenchman has endured many challenges on his road to MMA greatness.

“The Last Pirate” began his professional career at 19, where he competed in various European regional promotions. After a rough start to his career — standing at one point just 2-3 as a professional — Charriere rebounded with a stellar 2016 when he fought eight times and brought his record to 9-4.

While Charriere’s current 16-7-1 record may not appear as spotless as some of the sport’s other blue-chip prospects, he has fought some of the best talent European MMA has to offer and has gained valuable experience in the process; one of his losses was against Salahdine Parnasse (14-0-1) in 2017, another young Frenchman, who is now champion in Polish MMA promotion KSW.

Charriere’s last loss came in his Cage Warriors debut, where he fought former lightweight champion and Bellator signee, Soren Bak (14-1), for the interim featherweight title.

Early in Charriere’s career, he fought frequently, but often against less experienced opposition. Since entering Cage Warriors, Morgan Charriere has made vast improvements to his MMA skillset while competing against challenging opposition, a clear sign of a fighter putting it all together.

Charriere’s command of range allows him to avoid being hit by most of his opponent’s offense. However, he has at times struggled to utilize boxing against his opponents due to potential reach disadvantages. To overcome such a disadvantage, Charriere utilizes leg kicks to immobilize his opposition.

Another skill Charriere has improved is his counter-striking. One of his favorite sequences is countering an opponent’s left hook with a looping overhand right. Charriere’s power is well-known — in 16 professional wins, he has scored eight knockouts, and four submissions, to boot. 

Many of Charriere’s early fights resulted in close decisions. He improved his ability to win close fights by working on his wrestling. By implementing well-timed takedowns and mixing them in with his sound striking, Charriere has been able to win more rounds. As a result of his ever-developing fight IQ, he has gone on a 3-1 run in Cage Warriors, capping off his run with a title victory.

Morgan "The Last Pirate" Charriere
Morgan Charriere with his Cage Warriors belt. Credit: Tapology.

Despite being only 25, Morgan Charriere is quickly gaining popularity in his native France. He has over 140k followers on Instagram, as well as 100k subscribers on YouTube, simply massive numbers for a fighter working their way toward a major promotion.

While popularity on social media is not everything, promotions like the UFC and Bellator MMA will be looking for French MMA stars after the nation recently legalized the sport. With a population of 66 million, France has become an emerging market for MMA, and Charriere has the potential to be its face in 2021.

After winning the Cage Warriors featherweight championship, Charriere used his post-fight interview to express his desire to defend his belt at the next set of Cage Warriors events in March. If Charriere successfully defends his title, it is likely he will be signed by the UFC or Bellator MMA by the end of 2021.