Prospect Rankings Demographics Update: December 2021-March 2022

4 months after my last update, I’m back to break down how the demographics of my prospect rankings (which can be accessed here) have changed. 2022 year has been a great year for MMA so far, with lots of exciting talents getting to show their skills on big regional stages and make their case to be signed to a international-level promotion.

Country Breakdown

CountryNumber of ProspectsChange Since Last Update
Russia438
USA22-1
Brazil11-2
Japan50
England40
France40
Canada30
Poland30
Azerbaijan20
Bahrain20
Kazakhstan20
Tajikistan21
Cameroon10
Denmark11
Germany10
Hungary10
Israel10
Ireland10
Kyrgyzstan10
Lithuania10
Nigeria10
Norway10
Serbia11
South Africa10
South Korea10
Sweden10
Turkey10
Ukraine1-1
Uzbekistan10
Belarus0-1
Jordan0-1
Moldova0-1
New Zealand0-1
Philippines0-1
Scotland0-1
Spain0-1

In the first demographics update, the story was stability among the top countries and a wide range of new countries adding their first prospects to the mix. That trend has reversed this time around, as Russia increased it’s #1 stockpile of prospects from 35 all the way to 43, giving it more prospects than countries #2-5 combined. That speaks to how effective sambo-style wrestling is as a base for MMA, and also the wave of talent that Khabib Nurmagomedov inspired to chase a better life through the sport.

Belarus, Jordan, Moldova, New Zealand, the Philippines, Scotland, and Spain all lost their singular representatives in the rankings, while the only new countries to join were Denmark and Serbia. Most of those vacated spots went to the flood of Russians that make up almost 25% of all the top prospects.

Brazil remains the #3 country but lost a couple promising talents that were signed to Serbian and Russian promotions and beaten by other top prospects. The Brazilian regional scene is still greatly in flux as many organizations fold after a handful of shows due to lack of funding, and while promotions like Future FC, SFT, Jungle Fight, and LFA’s recent forays into the country provide good platforms, there are still nowhere near enough spots for all of the high-level talent that the country produces.

Tajikistan added a second prospect, and the fighting culture of Central Asia should continue to produce new talents as local promotions become better established.

Promotional Breakdown

PromotionNumber of ProspectsChange Since Last Update
Bellator17-2
Eagle FC116
ACA101
Brave CF9-2
ONE8-4
LFA60
RCC61
Cage Warriors50
CFFC42
PFL42
RIZIN40
UAE Warriors40
AMC Global30
Ares FC32
Open FC3-1
Fury FC2-1
KSW20
Octagon (Kazakhstan)21
Arena Global11
Cage MMA11
DEEP10
FEN10
Fight Pro Championship11
GMC10
Hardcore FC11
MMA Series10
Oktagon (Czech Republic)10
Parus FC10
Pro FC11
Rebel FC10
Road FC10
Serbian Battle Championship11
Titan FC1-1
WWFC1-1
XFC11
Contender Series0-3
Superior Challenge0-1
Taura MMA0-1
Amir Temur FC0-1
Art of Scrap0-1
Brazilian Fighting Series0-1
Combate Global0-1
Future FC0-1
Gladiator CF0-1

Bellator lost two prospects but still remains the most prospect-rich promotion by a fair margin. However, there were major changes in the rest of the top 5, with ONE losing a whopping 4 prospects and dropping from the #2 to #5 promotion after a number of their young talents were defeated in early 2022. Brave also lost multiple prospects and dropped from the #3 to #4 spot.

Eagle FC took by far the biggest leap of any promotion seen in this series so far, as they more than doubled their prospect count from 5 to 11 and rocketed from a tie for 9th place all the way to the #2 spot. This is a natural byproduct of owner and promoter Khabib Nurmagomedov’s deep ties to the talent hotbed of Dagestan along with the promotion’s recent expansion into holding shows in the USA, which has granted access to a large pool of experienced opponents to test the prospects EFC brings from Russia.

Ares FC, CFFC, and the PFL all added 2 new prospects in the last 4 months, which I consider an accurate representation of all 3 as promotions on the rise. Ares has put on some great shows over the last few months since its return from covid shutdown, and they’ve managed to sign a number of top French fighters to contracts. Cage Fury continues to hold engaging and highlight-filled events, and they’ve proven a track record of sending their best champions to the UFC, which will always help attract new talent. Finally, the PFL managed to snag some new prospects with their first season of the Challenger Series, which both identified some top talents that were signed directly to the 2022 tournament and put other fighters on the radar for potential short-notice fill in opportunities.

As with the countries, the total number of promotions represented shrunk as a result of the success had by some of the top shows. 9 promotions lost all their prospects, including 4 from Brazil: Brazilian Fighting Series, Future FC, Gladiator CF, and Taura MMA. 6 new promotions picked up their first prospects to claim some of the vacated spaces. Dana White’s Contender Series saw by far the biggest drop from 3 to 0, though this is mostly due to the fact that it’s now been 5+ months since the last DWCS show and many of the contestants who were not signed to the UFC have already fought under new banners since then.