Octagon Oracles: CJ Vergara

James Colwell

Grade: B

Vergara had an inconsistent start to his MMA career but he’s now on a good winning streak and seems to be hitting his prime just as he enters the UFC. He made his pro debut at back in 2012 at age 21 and got 3 wins against other beginners before ~16 months away from the cage.

He suffered his first pro loss in his comeback, but it was a split decision against current UFC bantamweight Jonathan Martinez so its hard to judge him too harshly for that result. He went another 18 months before his next fight, a decision win over a 4-1 prospect, but then suffered another setback in the form of a draw against a 1-3 opponent he should have beaten easily. That led to another 18-month gap which ended with a quick submission loss, but Vergara stuck with it after this bad result and has since put together 5 straight finishes with strikes.

The first 4 of those finishes came for Fury FC against decent competition and all came in the 2nd or 3rd round, which speaks to how Vergara wears his opponents down over time and maintains his power into the later rounds. The biggest highlight was a beautiful flying knee knockout with a minute left in the fight, and he claimed the flyweight title in his last fight for the regional promotion. That was enough to earn him a spot on the Contender Series in September against Bruno Korea, who was regarded as one of the top talents coming out of Brazil. I didn’t give Vergara much of a chance against Korea’s submission threat, but he stamped his ticket to the UFC with a crippling knee to the body just 40 seconds into the fight.

In a flyweight division full of grapplers who often win by submission or decision, Vergara’s ability to finish his opponents with strikes really stands out. He’s not elite with his wrestling or BJJ but has certainly improved those areas since his early-career losses. He takes on Ode Osbourne for his UFC debut, and I like Vergara to take the win since OO has shown vulnerability to strikes in the past. I don’t think he has many elite traits, but I can see Vergara sticking around in the UFC for quite a while

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender