There's been a considerable amount of support for Paul McVeigh's UFC cause, as the longstanding top bantamweight in Europe continued his dominance with a win over Andreas Bernhard at the last Cage Warriors event. Prior to that he defeated European-ranked adversaries in Musse Hasselvall and Artemij Sitenkov, making him look a sure thing for the UFC in the future since the WEC ceased operations.
Now the perfect chance has arisen for the charismatic Northern Irishman to win over the fans as well as the UFC brass. He and featherweight teammate Graham "Afterburner" Turner will head out to Newark for the March 21st Ultimate Fighter 14 trials.
McVeigh stands at second place in our UK bantamweight rankings - only behind current UFC star Brad Pickett - and Turner resides at nine, but the young featherweight is undefeated at 145lbs and has many years in front of him.
Their management at Warrior Promotions managed to secure sponsorship for the pair to fly out to New Jersey, and Ian Dean said:
"The team at WPFM are delighted to have secured sponsorship for McVeigh and Turner to go to the TUF trials. We think it's just another example of what we can do for fighters and we truly believe that both guys have a fanastic shot of making the final series."
Since taking the helm with the majority of the professional Dinky Ninja Fight Team, big fights and opportunities have been presented to the Scottish outfit, and McVeigh and Turner will be looking to turn these into Zuffa contracts in 2011.
News that other Europeans, such as Hamid Corassani and Sirwan Kakai, will be making the trip means it looks likely that some great talent from our region will feature on the show.
McVeigh and Turner last competed at Cage Warriors 40 at the HMV Forum in London which I covered for Bloody Elbow. It'll be interesting to see how they do as Featherweight and Bantamweight are still developing classes that are wide open for fighters to try their hand at on the big stage.