It’s been a minute since the UFC brought in some talent from north of the border. The Canadian MMA scene has struggled over the past few years to produce the volume of exciting young fighters that the country was once known for. Whether it’s down to regulation putting limits on events, GSPs retirement and an ensuing lack of public enthusiasm for MMA, or just a broadening global combat landscape in which Canada has failed to keep pace, the exact cause is a little tough to pinpoint. So, it’s something of an exciting rarity to see a new, undefeated fighter join the ranks. Such is the case with welterweight Jonathan Meunier, who MMA Fighting reports will replace the injured Alex Garcia against Colby Covington on only a week and a half’s notice in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. So..
Who is Jonathan Meunier?
The 6’3” “District” is a 28-year-old welterweight fighting out of Tristar Quebec. Not in fact home to Garcia, GSP, Rory Mac and the other notable UFC talent of years past, although he does spend time training at the more well known facility. He’s entering the Octagon with an unbeaten 7-0 record, with all his wins coming via finish (and having only seen the second round once). His most notable win to date is over Millennia MMA product Stephen Martinez. Outside of MMA Meunier has a background in Taekwondo and kickboxing at the amateur level.
What you should expect:
Despite his TKD background and his rangy frame (and despite his string of first round finishes) it’d be something of a misnomer to say that Meunier’s success has come from his striking. In general, he reminds me a bit of Julia Budd, who was constantly trumpeted for her kickboxing credentials as she ground opponents into the mats with her wrestling/grappling game. At range Meunier is something of a tentative, low output, and slightly stiff striker.
In his last fight, he got pretty badly hurt and roughed up by the relatively inexperienced (but aggressive) Francis Charbonneau, and was able to turn the fight around by shooting a power double. Against Martinez, his takedown defense and use of elbows to the side of Martinez’s head during transition allowed him to get top position for the finish. As Meunier’s most recent and best opponents, that may give a better picture of his skills than a string of KOs. From top position, he uses his size and strength well to get and hold dominant positions while raining down blows. He’s an active striker who generates good power with an opponent under him. If he can’t get the fight there though, he could have real problems in the UFC.
What this means for his debut:
Colby Covington could be a great opponent for Meunier or a stylistic nightmare, depending on the intricacies of how their style matches up. Covington is a power wrestler with very few other parts to his game. He hasn’t shown himself to strike that well, or grapple with any finishing consistency. He’s just a mauling top control monster. So he could get Meunier down and work him over for 15 minutes, since Meunier is so focused on top control himself, or he could fail to get takedowns and Meunier’s own top game and better finishing instincts could drive him to a win. Especially on short notice, but also for technical skill, I’d bet on Covington.
To get us better acquainted, here’s Meunier’s most recent fight against Francis Charbonneau: