“I’m proud to welcome this diverse and talented group of top-ranked and highly sought-after fighters to the Professional Fighters League,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said in a press release. “Half of the 2020 season roster will be elevated with next-level new talent, and the other half, comprised of the best fighters from last season.”
“The PFL’s fighters must earn their way through the toughest test in MMA, fighting five times over the course of the regular season, playoffs, and championship for a shot at the six $1-million dollar belts,” Murray added. “I’m excited for our global fanbase to watch our new fighters mix it up this season starting May 21 on ESPN2 and ESPN+.”
The company confirmed the signings today in a press release, which feature eight men and two women, many of which have UFC and Bellator experience. Let’s take a look at them in closer detail:
Nicknamed “The Canadian Gangster,” Olivier Aubin-Mercier hails from Quebec, Canada where he was a two-time junior national champion as well as a three-time senior national medalist in judo. The submission specialist is the protégé of Georges St-Pierre. Aubin-Mercier compiled a 7-5 record with the UFC over six years and the 31-year-old now looks to re-establish himself as a top lightweight fighter in the PFL.
Johnny Case (USA), 2020 PFL Lightweight Contender:
UFC and RIZIN star Johnny “Hollywood” Case returns to the PFL, fighting in the lightweight division after competing as an alternate in the PFL 2018 inaugural season. In Case’s lone fight for the PFL, he fought eventual 2018 and 2019 champion Natan Schulte to a two-round majority draw, with Schulte advancing due to the tiebreaker. With 19 career knockouts, “Hollywood” looks to enact revenge and take down the two-time reigning lightweight champ.
Professional MMA fighter and boxer “Cassius” Clay Collard has amassed an 18-8 career record, including 10 wins by knockout. He brings his knockout power to the PFL lightweight division, where he’ll be looking to take out back-to-back champion Natan Schulte.
Known as the “Battlecat,” Cindy Dandois is a 10-year veteran with a 16-5 pro record, riding a four-fight win streak into the 2020 PFL season. Dandois joins the first-ever women’s lightweight division after competing at bantamweight and featherweight for other MMA promotions like the UFC, Bellator, Invicta FC and Cage Warriors.
Marcin Held (Poland), 2020 PFL Lightweight Contender:
Veteran Polish fighter Marcin Held joins the PFL after stints with Bellator, UFC and most recently, the Absolute Championship Berkut. The grappling expert holds a 26-7 career record.
Newcomer Bubba “Bad Man” Jenkins joins the featherweight division. He sports a 14-4 career record, winning his past three fights. The 2011 NCAA Division 1 wrestling champion and Bellator veteran joins the PFL as the reigning Brave Combat Federation featherweight champion, looking to add another championship belt to his resume.
Laura Sanchez (USA), 2020 PFL Women’s Lightweight Contender:
Wisconsin native and former D1 basketball player Laura Sanchez joins the PFL after notching her first pro MMA win in the Chosen Few Fighting Championships. The amateur world champion brought home the gold medal for Team USA at the MMA World Championships in Singapore, winning both of her fights by first-round TKO.
Mohammed Usman (Nigeria), 2020 PFL Heavyweight Contender:
Nicknamed “The Motor,” Mohammed Usman enters the season on a three-fight win streak. Following in his brother’s footsteps, UFC champion Kamaru Usman, Mohammed will attempt to mirror his brother’s journey from humble beginnings in Auchi, Nigeria to MMA champion.
California native Justin “Big Pretty” Willis enters PFL following a 4-1 run with the UFC. The American Kickboxing Academy product holds an 8–2 career record, including notable victories over Mark Hunt and Chase Sherman.
Jordan Young (USA), 2020 PFL Light Heavyweight Contender:
Jordan Young enters the 2020 PFL season following a 6-1 run at Bellator. Prior to his first career loss, Young reeled off five-straight submission victories. Of his 11 career wins, nine have been by tap out.
Of particular note is Mohammed Usman, who is the younger brother of UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Former ranked UFC welterweight Olivier Aubin-Mercier will look to make a splash in the PFL’s welterweight division.