This week it was announced that the UFC signed longtime top prospect Mike Easton, with the Washington, DC native slated to take on Jeff Hougland at UFC on Versus 6 in October. And if you’re like me, then you said to yourself, “Man, that’s great. I remember watching that guy kick ass and take names at Reality Fighting back in 2003.” However, if you’re not like me, and you somehow missed those pre-TUF days when dudes fought in cold convention halls and no one was really sure this whole “MMA thing” was going to make it, then you were probably nodding along with everyone else at the news and half-heartedly agreeing that yeah, it’s about time Easton appeared in the “big show”. Hey bro, we here at MMA Convert have got you covered with what you need to know about this killer bantamweight. Regurgitate this info at parties and you will impress all your friends.
The basic facts: Easton is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Lloyd Irvin, possesses very sharp Muay Thai, and sports a 12-1-1 record with his only loss coming by virtue of a broken arm (he blocked a kick with his elbow). His nickname is the “Hulk” (and it’s not because he’s green), he was the Ultimate Warrior Challenge bantamweight champ (the UWC was DC’s biggest promotion for a while), and lately he’s been UFC champ Dominic Cruz’s training partner.
The only knocks against him are that injuries have kept him on the sidelines for much of his career – things like knee issues and getting the aforementioned elbow fixed up – and he hasn’t fought in nearly two years. Plus, his last bout, a UWC title defense against Chase Beebe, was a victory via very questionable split decision, although that’s not really something you’d hold against Easton.
Easton can wrestle, can slap on the occasional submission, and he can hit pretty hard and pretty accurately. There’s footage out there of his 2006 Fury FC fight in Brazil, and if you can get past the fact that Easton is wearing a Speedo, you’ll see him damn near put his fist through his Brazilian opponent’s head (obviously, Easton won that one by knockout).
It makes sense that he would have his Octagon debut at the UFC’s first venture into DC proper (sorry, a UFC Fight Night at the Patriot Center in Northern Virginia does not count as being in DC). After all, Easton has long been considered the best MMA fighter to hail from the area, and he was literally the cornerstone on which the UWC was built upon.
How will he do against Hougland? Well, let’s just say that they should be evenly matched on the ground; however, if the two wind up battling it out on the feet, Easton is going to be scoring another KO in his Speedo. Which is cool and all, but it still kind of creeps me out.