Outside of the UFC, there are a handful of promotions all competing for the eyes of MMA fans.
These promotions include One FC, Bellator, Professional Fighter’s League (PFL), and Rizin.
Today we’re going to do a deep dive into two of these promotions: One FC and Bellator.
Why One FC vs Bellator?
Chatri Sityodtong, founder of ONE FC, claimed that “Our champions would steamroll Bellator guys.”
Unfortunately, there are no plans for a tournament between these two fight organizations to prove this.
So, I decided to examine both and see if Chatri’s claims are true.
But if you’re not familiar with either promotion, here’s what you need to know…
About One FC
One FC, otherwise known as One Championship, is a Singapore-based fight organization that showcases MMA, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, and BJJ.
It is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and was founded in 2011.
Their rules are quite different from what you may see in the UFC.
This includes, allowing for knees and kicks to a grounded opponent.
And judges score the fight as a whole.
So instead of scoring the fight round-by-round and using the 10-point must system, the judges make a decision of who they think controlled more of the fight regardless of which rounds they may have won or lost.
Another big difference is that One FC has hydration tests which are designed to prevent massive weight cuts like we see in all other promotions.
One FC has champions for multiple combat sports, but since we’re comparing them to Bellator, which is purely just MMA, we will only be examining their MMA fighters.
About Bellator MMA
Bellator was founded in 2008 by Bjorn Rebney.
It was originally set up as a tournament, similar to the format PFL uses now.
But in 2014, Bjorn Rebney was let go and replaced by StrikeForce founder, Scott Coker.
Coker got rid of the tournament style and set up a similar structure to the UFC.
Their events are available to stream on Showtime.
Bellator’s rules are much more similar to what you’d see in the UFC, as they use the Unified Rules of MMA.
One difference with Bellator though is that their cage is circular so it does not have the same kind of angles you may see in a typical cage.
Transfers From The UFC
This analysis will be mostly based on a fighter’s involvement in the UFC.
While it’s true that the UFC does not hold all the best fighters in MMA, it’s safe to say they have about 80% of all the elite fighters.
So using their records as a litmus test for the ability of fighters in One FC or Bellator makes sense.
But there are some notable fighters in each organization that have never fought in the UFC but are widely regarded as elite competitors including…
- Christian Lee
- Reinier De Ridder
- Adriano Moraes
- Yaroslav Amosov
- Usman Nurmagomedov
- Vadim Nemkov
One FC Transfers
There have been several fighters that have gone from One FC to the UFC or from the UFC to One FC.
A few notable transfers are…
There’s only been one instance of a trade in MMA and this is when One FC traded Ben Askren for Demetrious Johnson.
At the time, Ben Askren was 18 – 0 and looked unstoppable.
He was even Bellator Lightweight champion earlier in his career.
When he came over to the UFC, everyone was excited to see if the hype was real.
Askren beat Robbie Lawler with a bulldog choke, but it wasn’t without controversy, as many people didn’t think Lawler was unconscious.
Then he fought Jorge Masvidal, and every MMA fan knows what happened next…Askren was viciously KO’d by a flying knee in 5 seconds, the fastest KO in UFC history.
Askren fought once more against Demian Maia, where he was submitted by Maia in the third round. The fight showed the mileage of Askren and his lack of striking.
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson
On the other side of that trade, is the great Mighty Mouse.
Demetrious Johnson holds the UFC record for most consecutive titles defenses at 11, topping Anderson Silva.
He cleared out the Flyweight division for many years, before finally losing a close decision to Henry Cejudo.
After the loss, he was traded to One FC.
Since coming to One FC, Mighty Mouse has showcased his excellence by going 4 – 1, winning the Bantamweight Grand Prix, and capturing the Bantamweight championship.
It hasn’t been easy, and Johnson did lose by KO against the former champ Adriano Moraes in his first shot at the title.
But I’d say out of everyone on the One FC roster, Mighty Mouse is the most proven athlete they have.
Alvarez came to One FC late in his career and has gone 1 – 2 – 1 in the promotion.
Since Alvarez debuted as a pro in 2003 and is well past his prime, it’s hard to judge these wins or losses, as it’s very possible he would have fared better in One FC earlier in his career.
But it’s undeniable that he got bested by the Lightweights of One FC.
Bhullar is the current Heavyweight champion of One FC, but prior to this success, Bhullar had fought in the UFC.
He went 3 – 1, before transferring to One FC, where he is now 2 – 0.
It’s hard to say how good Bhullar is just yet, but it’s clear that he’s very skilled.
Unfortunately, we did not see him against the best competitors in the UFC since he was new.
But time will tell how Bhullar fares in One FC, as he begins to defend his championship.
There have been several fighters that have gone from Bellator to the UFC or from the UFC to Bellator.
A few notable transfers are…
Eddie came over to the UFC as the Bellator lightweight champion.
In Bellator, his record was 9 – 1. And in the UFC, his record was 4 – 3 – 1.
What’s most notable about Eddie Alvarez is that he’s the first and only Bellator fighter to come to the UFC and capture a title.
He won the UFC Lightweight title against Rafael Dos Anjos via TKO.
So despite his bad record, as the wear and tear caught up to him, he still won UFC gold and beat other elite guys like Justin Gaethje, Anthony Pettis, and Gilbert Melendez.
Chandler has made quite a splash in the UFC with his exciting and often reckless style. His record in Bellator was 18 – 5 and his record in the UFC so far is 2 – 3.
His only losses are to the absolute elite including Charles Oliveira, Justin Gaethje, and Dustin Poirier.
But his only wins in the UFC are against Tony Ferguson and Dan Hooker, who both have not looked great as of late.
Benson is a legend in the fight game, and a future hall of famer for both the UFC and Bellator.
He won the UFC Lightweight championship back in 2012 by defeating Frankie Edgar.
He then defended the belt 3 times before losing it to Anthony Pettis.
After the loss, Benson went 4 – 2, before signing with Bellator.
Since arriving at Bellator, a championship has alluded Benson and his record is 7 – 6.
The aging veteran is unfortunately past his prime.
Bader is the most accomplished person to move from the UFC to Bellator.
He won the Bellator Light-Heavyweight championship, the Bellator Heavyweight championship, and the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Prior to this, Bader was a great fighter in the UFC, but could never win the number 1 contender fights.
His overall record in the UFC was 15 – 5 and in Bellator, his record is 8 – 2 – 1.
He has since lost the Light-Heavyweight championship to Vadim Nemkov, but he still holds the Heavyweight championship.
So Who Has Better Fighters?
This is a tough one because both organizations have some very elite talent.
But I believe Bellator has the better fighters overall.
Their fighters are just more proven at this stage.
Based on these transfers, numerous Bellator fighters go over to the UFC and do well, even becoming champion.
Whereas One FC has had no transfers to the UFC that have done well.
But we’ll see how this plays out though now that One FC is being shown to an American audience and is getting more interest from fighters moving to or from the UFC.
However, like all of you, I’d love to see an event between One FC and Bellator to prove which fight organization is truly superior.