The signing of the "Best Bantamweight in China" by UFC should be big news. By all accounts Tuerexun Jumabieke is a very good fighter, and should be able to hang right away with the bottom level of the UFC's BW division, while potentially developing into a UFC mainstay. China is a key market that UFC is targeting, so we know that he will be given every chance to succeed. Inside though, I know that this fighter is coming from a country that has no track record of producing successful UFC fighters so why should I get too excited. It also got me thinking about how I view a prospect just based on the country he is from. Fair or not, just hearing what country a prospect is from puts an instant stereotype in my mind. I don't just judge the style of fighter, but the quality based on what reputation his home country has for producing MMA talent. I started listing the countries by Tiers that define them based on the general quality of their MMA prospects, and with some stereotypes next to the countries. I really want to know if I'm on track here and if other MMA fans views things the same way...
Tier 1 - Fighter's coming out of these countries have access to top flight camps, and solid regional fighting scenes. The vast majority of UFC and Bellator Champions and contenders are from the first tier.
Brazil (BJJ, Muay Thai), USA (Wrestling, well rounded)
Tier 2 - Fighters have access to good camps, but not always the most well rounded games. Some of their countrymen have found success at the highest levels, but the country as a whole has yet to flood the top 15.
Canada (If it was just WW's, they would be Tier 1), Great Britain (No Wrestling), Netherlands (Strikers), Japan (Judo), Korea (judo), Russia (Sambo), Sweden
Tier 3 - I'm not sold on the overall level of training if fighters want to compete at the highest levels. There are not many fighters from these countries competing in UFC or Bellator and bringing the skills and training from elite level camps home.
Poland, Australia (No Wrestling), Philippines (145 and below), South Africa (Still learning), France, Singapore (Evolve), Croatia (Trains w/ Cro Cop)
Tier 4 - MMA is new, and there is no established track record of success in biggest promotions. When I hear about a prospect from these countries I need to see it before I believe any hype.
India (Superfight league), Indonesia, China (Learning and growing), Italy, Egypt
There are or will be individual exceptions to each and every country on this list. I'm just trying to help it make sense when someone is quoted as saying "fighter XX is the best prospect in country Y," sometimes that really means something... other times, not so much.