The MMA rise of Manchester Top Team

Manchester Top Team is one of the leading MMA Gyms in the UK and is home to some of the best talent that the North West of England has to offer.

Since its establishment in 2019, the world-famous gym has quickly grown in reputation and now has many people coming through the doors.

Whether it’s children and beginners wanting to step into the world of mixed martial arts, or some of the brightest upcoming fighters looking to take their skills to the next level.

Manchester Top Team is well renowned for training several top-level professionals who compete in some of the biggest MMA promotions in the world, such as UFC, Bellator, Cage Warriors and more.

Some of their more recognisable fighters include Manchester’s own Lerone Murphy – who is in the UFC with an impressive pro record of 11-1 – and Kane Mousah who competes in Bellator.

Lerone Murphy of England celebrates after his knockout victory over Makwan Amirkhani of Finland in a featherweight fight during the UFC 267 event at Etihad Arena on October 30, 2021 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Their female fighters are also well represented through Dakota Ditcheva who is currently 4-0 in MMA but has won multiple titles competing in Muay Thai.

Manchester Top Team’s most famous fighter is without a doubt former two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir.

Widely recognised as a legend of the sport, Mir had an almost 20-year long career in MMA since having his first fight in 2001 and holds the records for most finishes and most submission wins in UFC Heavyweight history.

Another one of their fighters, Junior Morgan, has been at Manchester Top Team from the very start and has witnessed their growth first-hand.

MMA fighter Junior Morgan in Manchester Top Team’s gym. (Photo by/Manchester Top Team)

“I’ve been with Manchester Top Team from day one,” he said.

“We were formerly ‘All Powers’ which was predominantly a Thai Boxing gym, but we branched off and formed Manchester Top Team to focus more on MMA.

“The gym excelled within the first months and hasn’t stopped growing since.”

The 36-year-old was born in Manchester and began training in MMA around a decade ago.

After gaining some experience as an amateur, he eventually decided to turn pro and won his first three fights in 2019.

The Covid-19 pandemic soon followed and lead to a frustrating period of over two years where Morgan didn’t compete due to shows being cancelled and several opponents pulling out of fights.

Eventually getting a fight in February 2022 on Bellator 275, Morgan suffered his first defeat to upcoming Irish fighter Darragh Kelly.

Despite the result, the Mancunian was proud of just how far he had come in his career after making his debut for the second biggest MMA promotion in the world.

Morgan hopes to fight for a few more years before potentially taking up a coaching role at Manchester Top Team and helping the next generation of fighting talent in the North West.

“I’ve still got a few fights left in me yet, but beyond that I’m looking to transition from competing to coaching and helping the younger fighters in the gym,” he added.

“Manchester is going to be taking over very soon.

“There’s a hell of a lot of talent coming out of our gym and out of the UK in general.

“We’ve got a lot of upcoming fighters on the amateur scene that you’re going to start seeing, especially when they turn pro and start working their way up the rankings.”