Contenders assemble as the battle for Cage Warriors’ lightweight title heats up

Following the news of Jai Herbert’s graduation from Cage Warriors lightweight champion to UFC newcomer, the race is on to capture the newly-vacated Cage Warriors 155-pound title.

The U.K. promotion’s lightweight division has proved to be something of a finishing school for Europe’s best 155-pounders, with former lightweight champions Herbert, Chris Fishgold, Stevie Ray and, of course, Conor McGregor all stepping up to the UFC after capturing Cage Warriors gold.

Now the coveted strap is up for grabs once again, and a host of talented 155-pounders are set to jockey for position in a bid to earn themselves a spot in the battle for the vacant title later this year.

Liverpool fan-favorite Paddy Pimblett will lead the charge when he returns to action against Belgian contender Donovan Desmae on March 20 at Cage Warriors 113 in London, but he faces competition from a clutch of fellow lightweights who all have their sights set on the title.

Unbeaten Welshman Mason Jones (8-0) has looked better with each performance in Cage Warriors, and in 2019 claimed notable wins over Desmae and Finland’s Aleksi Mantykivi. He’ll take on Italian former UFC lightweight and fellow contender Danilo Belluardo (12-5) in London while looking to stake an undeniable claim for a title shot.

While Pimblett and Jones look set to compete in separate bouts in a bid to earn their crack at the gold, four more contenders will go head to head in a pair of bouts in Birmingham with the same goal in mind.

Former featherweight champion and all-action crowd-pleaser Dean Trueman (10-6) has decided to step up to lightweight and will face Norway’s former lightweight title challenger Alexander Jacobsen (9-5), while Cage Warriors officials confirmed Tuesday that another former title challenger at 155, England’s Jack Grant, will take on undefeated Frenchman Mehdi Ben Lakhdar. Both matchups will take place at Cage Warriors 114 on April 18.

Grant (15-5) has long been considered a potential lightweight champion in the making, but he fell short against Herbert when the pair met at “Cage Warriors 106: Night of Champions” in July 2019. He’ll get the chance to re-establish his championship credentials against Ben Lakhdar (4-0-1), who announced his arrival in Cage Warriors with back-to-back first-round knockouts in 2018, then battled to a draw with Northern Ireland’s Joe McColgan in Cage Warriors’ “Fight of the Year” for 2019.

All eight men have a legitimate shot at the title, but only two can make it all the way to fight for the vacant belt. By the end of April we should know who has earned their shot.

Upcoming lightweight bouts:

Cage Warriors 113 (London, March 20)

  • Paddy Pimblett vs. Donovan Desmae
  • Mason Jones vs. Danilo Belluardo

Cage Warriors 114 (Birmingham, April 18)

  • Jack Grant vs. Mehdi Ben Lakhdar
  • Alexander Jacobsen vs. Dean Trueman