No, it's not the return of the "Ninja." That welterweight Daniel Roberts is on a two fight losing skid, having last competed at Pancrase 266 back in April. This is a new, fresher, younger Danny Roberts with a lot of proving ground out in front of him. His signing was announced by the UFC. While no official debut date has been announced, Roberts did say that he expect to fight late this year or early next. So...
Who is Danny Roberts?
"Hot Chocolate," as he is also known, is a 27-year old fighter originally training out of Next Generation UK alongside top prospects Paddy Pimblett and Chris Fishgold. More recently, and in conjunction with his UFC debut, he's made the move to the Blackzilians for his fight camp training. He'll hit the Octagon with a rock solid 11-1 record, with his last 5 fights coming through Cage Warriors. He has wins over Bellator vet "Judo" Jim Wallhead and top tier regional vet Jack Mason along with a solid contingent of good experienced talent. His only loss came via heel hook to crafty leg-lock specialist Pavel Doroftei early in the first round. Roberts got his start in MMA after training as a boxer.
What you should expect:
Roberts' boxing background may be center stage in his skills, with a constant, probing jab at range and a solid well of good technical hooks and straight punches to go to, but he definitely wants to be a more well rounded fighter than that. He has a good leg kick game when he remembers to use it (less often than he should) and has shown some solid offensive wrestling basics, to go along with a dangerous clinch offense. However, more practiced wrestlers and grapplers have consistently been able to force mistakes out of him, both in scrambles and on the ground. He's athletic enough that he's almost always been able to work himself out of danger, but he finds himself in danger a lot. Roberts has got the kind of natural power in his hands that he's going to force a lot of fighters to be more predictable in their wrestling and grappling against him, but he's got to work on really developing his takedown defense and his positional grappling to find long-term UFC success.
To get us better acquainted, here's his most recent fight, against Jim Wallhead at Cage Warriors 68, last year: