It’s a sign of how far MMA has come that only one current champion was born in any of the male divisions in the US.
The UFC has always strived to spread their tentacles worldwide and now fighters from Europe, Africa and Oceania are having their time in the sun.
Where the Stars and Stripes once had a stranglehold, the grip has now loosened with only Aljamain Sterling, Julianna Pena and Carla Esparza flying the flag at the top of their respective weight divisions.
Dana White has helped make the UFC a truly global organization in recent years
Is this a problem for the UFC? The US market remains the dominant and most major events are, of course, held in Las Vegas.
And yet the talent pool in the US seems to be dwindling with such elite-level opposition found all over every continent.
Ultimately, Dana White and Co want the best of both worlds. American stars and a global reach with growing markets around the world.
So who are the US upstart looking to turn the tide and re-establish the US as the dominant force in MMA?
‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley
‘Suga Sean’ is the most established newcomer on this list.
He ticks just about every box as a marketable, exciting talent who can talk the talk and sustain it in the octagon.
O’Malley has cultivated a kind of modern Willy Wonka image, only with a few twisting kicks and KOs than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Born in Montana and fighting out of Arizona, the 27-year-old is hugely popular among younger fans, is a big gamer and is confident in his climb to the top.
Sean O’Malley is a colorful character and rising star in the bantamweight division
O’Malley landed a UFC contract after impressing on Dana White’s Contender Series and has only lost once in eight appearances since then.
He is touted to take on former bantamweight champion Petr Yan in his next encounter in what would be his toughest opponent by far.
O’Malley’s recent fight with Pedro Munhoz was halted due to an accidental eye prick that forced his opponent to back off, but ‘Suga Sean’ is making big strides.
He understands the importance of self-promotion and hosts his own podcast The Timbo Sugarshow and regularly streams on Twitch.
Other interesting caveats about O’Malley are that he is a proponent of legalized marijuana and has talked about having an open relationship with his girlfriend.
O’Malley backs himself for a title shot early next year with two more finishes
Jalin ‘The Tarantula’ Turner
“The Tarantula” suffered many injuries in high school that prevented him from participating in most sports.
He was inspired to train in MMA after watching fights on TV, but when he was struggling to afford equipment, Turner used his family couch as a makeshift punching bag.
The 6f 3in Californian previously explained, “In anybody’s backyard, we spar in boxing, kickboxing. When I was at home, I would watch videos and train kicks. My couch was my punching bag.
“I loved that couch. It was something to hit, something to aim for, something to train accuracy with.”
Jalin Turner is an outstanding athlete and is making waves in the UFC lightweight division
As a child, Turner was arachnophobic, but he decided to tackle his fear of spiders.
He started collecting tarantulas and at one point had more than 200. Today he has only five and his opponents have often become entangled in his web.
Turner lost two of his first three fights in the UFC, but has been in tears ever since, winning his last five.
The 27-year-old lightweight has a lot to offer and is dangerous everywhere, with nine knockout wins and four entries to his record.
In one of the toughest divisions of the UFC, the American will try to make his mark next year.
Turner has victories by submission and knockout and has the world at his feet at age 27
Some fighters in the UFC just have that weird power — the kind that makes you look twice when an innocent-looking shot does extreme damage.
Jamahal Hill owns it in abundance. The Chicago-born light-heavyweight has just one loss to his record, a brutal defeat to Paul Craig that broke his arm.
It was a rare blemish for Hill, who has since bounced back with first-round KO wins over Jimmy Crute and Johnny Walker.
Jamahal Hill has a lot of power and is a fighter to watch at light-heavyweight
Hill, 31, is already a father of six, ranging from two to 14, so has his hands full with the octagon.
“I tell other people all the time — I’ll be out and everyone’s saying, ‘Oh, UFC’, this and that, and my kids just say, ‘I want a drink; can you get me some juice or something?’ They bring me back to reality very quickly,” he told the UFC.
And he has title ambitions, adding: “It’s always been that way, and it’s all been a slow, step-by-step process.
“I’m thinking about it, but I’m not putting too much into it. I just have to keep working and I’ll get there.’
Next up for Hill is a blood-curdling showdown with Thiago Santos on August 6.
Hill recently knocked out Johnny Walker and his strength is deceptive in the octagon
Erin ‘Cold Blooded’ Blanchfield
Blanchfield is still a 23-year-old baby in MMA terms, but has the world at her feet.
Having already racked up a record of nine wins and one defeat, the 5ft 4in flyweight should be seen as one for the future.
The New Jersey native has a black belt in jiu-jitsu and is undefeated in three UFC fights to date.
As if all that wasn’t impressive enough, Blanchfield’s ambition is to become a commentator one day.
Erin Blanchfield (left) punches JJ Aldrich (right) en route to win in a flyweight fight
In addition to her education, she studies television and digital media at the university.
Her nickname “Cold Blooded” came from her father. “When I fight, I always have a very clear face, like a poker face, and I just go in and do what I have to do,” Blanchfield told MMA Fighting.
“So he always thought it was very cold-blooded and kind of matched the last name, like Erin ‘Cold Blooded’ Blanchfield, and it stuck.”
An entry win via guillotine last month has got the momentum rolling and with her current course, Blanchfield will be mixing it up with the best in the division in no time.
Blanchfield is deadly on the ground and continues to hone her other skills
McKinney’s origin story is another fascinating story.
He has re-dedicated himself to MMA after a traumatic near-death experience in 2015 that he has since described.
The 27-year-old, just 20 at the time, was found cut in the neck with glass after becoming extremely intoxicated from consuming LSD, mushrooms and alcohol.
Police noticed he was covered in blood and his heart stopped twice in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Speaking about the episode later, he said, “I was so embarrassed, to be honest, I was really disappointed in myself.
Terrance McKinney (right) suffered a loss to Drew Dober in March, but is on the rise
“I only see my mother’s face in tears. She could have lost me forever, and I am her firstborn. That was a huge game changer for me.
“Seeing my relatives cry and be sad. Just seeing that inspired me to change something. I tried to be around them every day, and I still feel like they’re hurt. That’s what drives me to be the man I am today.’
The Washington-born lightweight hasn’t had a great time so far, but the 27-year-old’s talents in the octagon are undeniable.
A brief defeat to Drew Dober in March was a setback, but McKinney has time on his side.
He was an excellent collegiate wrestler, but he also packs a real punch. McKinney has five wins by knockout and seven by submission, showing just how deadly a finisher he can be. Keep your eyes peeled for T. Wrecks, he continues his progress in the big show.
American lightweight McKinney (pictured) had a near-death experience in 2015