Fight Club: Each Premier League side’s best UFC contender

Ange Postecoglou’s candid comments have endeared the Big Australian to Premier League fans this season, with the Spurs boss far from impressed with the handbags during his side’s win over Brentford.

James Maddison got himself involved in a confrontation with Neal Maupay after the Brentford forward mocked Maddison’s darts celebration. Ange was having absolutely none of it.

“I’m not a fan of it, I don’t like the whole bravado, pushing people around,” he said at his post-match press conference.

“If you’re that brave about things, my players and their players, get into a UFC cage and I’ll see how brave they are. We’re out there to play football.”

Postecoglou’s comments on a football-UFC crossover got our minds ticking, who would emerge triumphant from a Premier League mixed martial arts match-up? We’ve selected the leading contender from each Premier League club to take to the cage.

Arsenal – Gabriel

There’s a lot of nicey nicey about the current Arsenal, with the current version of the Gunners lacking the bastardy associated with the George Graham and early Arsene Wenger eras.

We’ll opt for Gabriel Magalhães, a big unit not afraid to throw his head in where it hurts.

Aston Villa – Emiliano Martinez

Absolute shovel hands, and a little bit mad.

Anyone who volunteers to get in a cage, for fun, has to be.

Brentford – Mathias Jorgensen

Sorry, Neal Maupay.

You’re not that guy, pal.

Brighton – Igor

Another side lacking standout contenders, it’s a toss-up between the centre-back contingent of Adam Webster, Lewis Dunk and Igor Julio.

Bournemouth – Milos Kerkez

A Serbian-born Hungarian with endless endurance, Kerkez could outlast his opponents in the Octagon.

Burnley – Dara O’Shea

It’s about time Ireland had a worldwide UFC star…

Chelsea – Axel Disasi

A poor selection given the credible champions of Chelsea’s past.

We’re talking about Branislav Ivanovic in that old-school European boxing style, stood tall with a stiff jab. Dennis Wise taking delight in choking out another strawweight. A snarling Diego Costa, blood-soaked and unbroken stare, a man willing to win at any cost.

Crystal Palace – Jefferson Lerma

There’s a bit of a South American theme evolving, here.

Lerma’s enforcing of the Palace midfield could transfer well to the cage, with the combative Colombian never one to shirk a challenge.

Everton – Sean Dyche

Leading from the front, Dychey would no doubt go out on his shield for the Everton cause.

Can imagine the gravelly-voiced grappler being happy to resort to underhand tactics when required, which might lead to a points deduction…

Fulham – Adama Traore

Aleksandar Mitrovic would have been the standout Fulham fighter, but the Serbian’s defection for the Saudi Pro League leaves the belt vacant.

Adama Traore earns out vote. Some physical specimen, that man.

Liverpool – Ibrahima Konate

A man mountain, you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of Ibrahima Konate on a cage floor.

The Frenchman looks capable of channelling his inner Francis Ngannou and rag-dolling opponents at his will.

Luton – Carlton Morris

The Luton hit-man has ruffled the feathers of Premier League centre-backs this season, taking a fearless approach to his first season at the top level.

Manchester United – Lisandro Martinez

Manchester United have often been accused of lacking fight in recent seasons, making this selection a challenging one. Lisandro Martinez earns our vote, and while ‘The Butcher’ might lack punch power sitting down the weights, he’s certainly not shy of a scrap.

Manchester City – Ederson

It had to be him, didn’t it? The man is batshit crazy, whatever that actually means.

This is a man who clearly fears nothing, a man who does Cruyff turns on his own goal-line for goodness sake. As the Mancunians who cheer him on at the Etihad would say, he’s pretty rum.

Newcastle – Jamaal Lascelles

At the centre of a few training ground skirmishes in his time, with Matt Ritchie and Mo Diame among those to have butted heads with the Newcastle captain.

Nottingham Forest – Taiwo Awoniyi

Built like the proverbial brick sh**house.

William Saliba was the latest Premier League defender to feel the sheer strength of the striker, who eased the Arsenal defender out of his way before scoring at the City Ground in midweek.

Awoniyi could borrow Kamaru Usman’s Nigerian Nightmare nickname should he step into the Octagon to represent Forest.

Sheffield United – Oli McBurnie

If Oli McBurnie is sent off again this season, he will equal the Premier League record for most red cards (2) in a single campaign.

Those occasionally wayward elbows from the Scotland striker could come in useful in a UFC match-up.

Tottenham – Cristian Romero

The Spurs stopper can certainly be a little ‘loco’ when crashing into challenges on the pitch.

West Ham – Edson Alvarez

Alvarez’s ‘El Machin’ nickname is Spanish slang for ‘strong or tough’, an ode to the midfielder’s no-prisoners-taken approach to the game.

Given Mexico’s background in wrestling, he looks like the Hammers’ best hope.

Wolves – Craig Dawon

Craig Dawson looks like a man who would run through a brick wall for his team.

He’d probably run through some fists too, if the reward was a Wolves clean sheet.

Read – Five unforgettable Transfer Deadline Day stories

See more – The most surprising transfer deadline day deals in Premier League history

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