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Nathaniel Wood: Story of the Rising UFC Featherweight

LockerRoom Team
21 July 2023

Nathaniel Wood, born on August 5, 1993, is an English mixed martial artist who competes in the Featherweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). His journey in professional fighting began in 2012, and he achieved significant success in the Cage Warriors promotion before making his mark in the UFC.

Following the footsteps of his father

Wood's martial arts journey started at the age of 16 when he followed his father to a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practice. The sport sparked his interest, and he delved deeper into various combat disciplines, honing his skills in grappling and striking. As a natural athlete, Wood's dedication to training soon paid off, and he made his professional debut against James Humphries at Fusion Fighting Championship: Breakthrough on February 18, 2012. Demonstrating his potential, he secured a second-round technical knockout victory.

Success in Cage Warriors

Before joining the UFC, Wood amassed an impressive 9–3 record, primarily competing in regional promotions. However, it was his time in Cage Warriors that truly catapulted him into the spotlight. In 2017, he was scheduled to make his Cage Warriors debut against Vaughan Lee at CWFC 82. The fight was initially planned for CWFC 80 but had to be postponed due to an anomaly found on Wood's brain in a pre-fight scan. Undeterred, Wood faced Lee in an explosive bout, staggering him in the second round before knocking him out with a powerful right straight.

Following his dominant victory against Lee, Wood was given the opportunity to fight Marko Kovacevic for the vacant Cage Warriors Bantamweight Championship at CWFC 84 on June 2, 2017. Wood showcased his relentless pursuit of victory, weathering some early counter right hands by Kovacevic before securing a first-round technical knockout.

Wood's reign as the Cage Warriors Bantamweight Champion continued as he successfully defended his title against Josh Reed at CWFC 86 on September 17, 2017. Despite facing adversity in the fight and getting dropped by Reed's punches, Wood showed remarkable resilience and countered with a devastating left, securing a first-round knockout to retain his championship.

He made his second and final title defense against Luca Iovine at CWFC 92 on March 24, 2018, and again showcased his striking prowess, knocking out the challenger with a left hook in just 50 seconds.

Joining the UFC

With his impressive performances, Wood caught the attention of the UFC, and on April 5, 2018, it was announced that he had signed with the promotion. His UFC debut came against Johnny Eduardo on June 1, 2018, at UFC Fight Night: Rivera vs. Moraes. Wood did not disappoint, securing a victory via submission in the second round, earning him a Performance of the Night bonus.

Wood's journey in the UFC has been a mix of triumphs and challenges. He displayed his grappling skills with a submission win against Andre Ewell and continued to impress with a submission victory over José Alberto Quiñónez. However, he faced a setback with a TKO loss to John Dodson, highlighting the competitive nature of the Featherweight division.

An impressive run in the UFC

Wood's resilience and dedication to improvement have been evident in his performances, earning him respect from fans and fellow fighters alike. His exhilarating back-and-forth fight with Casey Kenney earned him a Fight of the Night bonus and demonstrated his ability to put on an exciting show for fans.

Despite facing adversity, Wood remains a highly regarded contender in the Featherweight division, and his recent move to the division proved successful with dominant victories over Charles Rosa and Charles Jourdain. His versatility and exciting fighting style make him a fan favourite and a potential future title contender.

Looking ahead, Nathaniel Wood's UFC journey continues with scheduled matchups against top fighters like Andre Fili on July 22, 2023, at UFC on ESPN+ 82. With his determination to grow as a fighter and his impressive skill set, Wood remains a compelling prospect in the UFC Featherweight division.

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