If you are a casual martial arts fan and you watch only UFC events, you probably haven’t heard of French featherweight Morgan Charriere.
But what if we tell you that the Frenchman will probably be the next big thing in Europe’s MMA?
“Luffy” spent the first years of his professional career fighting in multiple promotions all around Europe. Eventually, he ended up signing with one of the leading European MMA organizations, Cage Warriors, which allowed him to make a name even across the pond.
One of the first things that jump out about him is the huge amount of fans he has considering that he hasn’t fought yet for a major worldwide promotion.
“Kameto and I started a web-series on YouTube called Plus Jamais Gros, that means Never Fat Again in English”, Morgan Charrier told BJPenn.com. “Kamel (Kameto’s real name) was trying to lose weight. He weighed something like 330 pounds, and since the beginning of the show, he lost 55 pounds. On the other hand, my goal is to sign with the UFC.”
To accomplish this Charriere helps Kamel with his fitness, diet, and lack of motivation. In exchange, YouTube and Twitch viewers give him a push on social media.
“Before I knew, boom! An army was made. I started doing more YouTube videos on my own channel and more content on my social media in order to help people to be a better version of themself motivating them. So we are in a win-win situation: I help them and they help me.”
Some may think that a fighter should focus only on training and fighting but fans are the ones that buy tickets and pay-per-views, and the Cage Warriors veteran clearly understands it.
“The partnership [with Kameto] started on Twitter. I’m working on my social media since 2012, creating great content and MMA related stuff in order to expand my fanbase and have something more to propose to organizations. I had already more than 10,000 followers before Kamel reached to me in my DMs, telling me about his weight issue and then all things started from that. We wanted to motivate people with our videos, make them go out of their comfort zone. That was a success!”
Sometimes, though, having such a huge amount of fans can be counterproductive, especially for young fighters who can’t handle the pressure. That’s not the case of Morgan Charriere, though.
“I think it motivates me to be really relentless and be more focused on my fight since I have to put on a show every time I step in that cage. I want to make them proud. They are like my family, I don’t want to let them down. I told them to always give their best and regret nothing in my videos. So I need to do it myself, show them the way.”
The Chapa Quente’s representative was supposed to fight Mads Burnell for the undisputed title, but the latter was forced off and now he’s fighting Darko Banović for the Cage Warriors interim featherweight title. The Austria-based fighter, though, won’t make it easy for Luffy. Banovic has needed the judges just six times out of 24 bouts. Plus, 15 out of his 17 victories have come by way of stoppage.
“I think he comes with the same mindset as mine last year when I fought for the Cage Warrior gold. I will not underestimate him. You can expect me to throw bombs from the beginning [of the first round] to the end of the fifth round if needed. But I really don’t think this fight is going to pass round 2. You can expect some fireworks from this bout.”
Cage Warriors is known not only for being the leading MMA promotion in European territory but is also known for having sent multiple promotion’s champions overseas, fighting under the UFC banner. Leaving the cage with that gold around his waist could mean a UFC call for Morgan Charriere.
“We don’t know what the UFC plans are, though. Maybe it will be enough, maybe it won’t”, Charriere stated. “I’m not in a rush, I’m still very young despite my fighting experience. I was in a rush when I started my professional carrier and this made me make mistakes. I’m will not do this again, I know I need to be patient now and just keep doing what I do best: [put on] a show and social media. And I want to fight Mads [Burnell], so yes, my plan is to unify the title. I want to be the undisputed champion and I want to fight the best guys out there, defend that belt and then get that UFC call. I’m going to earn it trough my blood and sweat. For the moment it’s my goal [to sign with the UFC], but I’m open-minded. If something comes up and that’s good for me I could take it, we will see. Like I said before, I need to be patient.”
What is sure, though, is that the Cage Warriors title contender would be a great addition on the UFC roster now that mixed martial arts are basically legal in France and since that UFC is planning to do its first-ever show on French soil.
“We, the French fighters, are so used to always travel and fight the toughest local guys, that we don’t really know what it’s like to be fighting at home. I want to experience that, I want to hear the crowd rooting only for me. And you can expect all of my fans to come to the show so you can imagine the atmosphere. But I can tell you that on March 20, London will be French because I’m bringing the army with me and they are relentless!”
Morgan Charriere locks horns with Darko Banović on March 20 as he headlines Cage Warriors 113 in London.
How do you like Charriere’s chances to get the most anticipated call from the UFC?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/9/2020.