Nam Phan booked for Grandslam MMA show in Japan, indicating end to UFC tenure

Photo by Paolo Tabuena

It doesn't look like you'll be seeing Nam Phan in the UFC any time soon.

The good news for bantamweight Nam Phan is that his next fight will be in Japan. Unfortunately, it's not the UFC's September show, but for Grandslam MMA in July against Kenichi Ito. It looks like that means the end for Phan (18-13) in the UFC after a poor showing against Vaughan Lee, who dominated him at UFC Fight Night: China in March.

Phan's route into the UFC came via TUF 12, where he competed and advanced to the semifinals before losing to Michael Johnson. His UFC run consisted of 8 fights, all going the distance, and a 2-6 record that of course included the outrageous decision in the 1st of 2 fights with Leonard Garcia. Prior to his (suspected) release, the 31-year-old suffered losses to Lee, Takeya Mizugaki, and Dennis Siver.

I can't say this is particularly surprising after that whipping against Lee, but in the long-term I really have concern for Phan's health. Not that all significant strikes carry the same weight, but in his UFC career (per FightMetric), Phan has absorbed 870, which averages out to about 109 per fight. But the more telling statistic is the scoring of his defeats. For as much as MMA judges are decidedly hesitant to score rounds 10-8, Phan has had at least one judge score a 10-8 against him in 4 of his 6 losses. The Jim Hettes fight was scored 30-25, 30-25, and 30-26, and the Dennis Siver annihilation stands as the most lopsided point differential in the history of three-round UFC fights (30-24, 30-25, and 30-26 make for a 15 point difference). He's not just been losing, he's routinely been thoroughly dismantled without the mercy of a referee (or corner) stoppage.

Alas, the next chapter of Phan's career has begun, and hopefully he's able to get some wins under his belt again, but I think it's fair to say that he's duly not cut out for the UFC and unlikely to return.

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