TUF 31: Who is lightweight contestant Lee Hammond?
Lee Hammond has been waiting for an opportunity to take the next step in his fighting career. On The Ultimate Fighter Season 31, Hammond will get that chance as he’s joining eight other lightweights looking to earn a UFC contract.
Before making his professional MMA debut, Hammond decided to take advantage of evolving as an amateur, which most fighters choose not to do. The Irish-born fighter competed in IMMAF, the premier amateur tournament, four times from 2015-2019. He was a runner-up twice and won the lightweight championship in 2018.
After building an amateur record of 15-5, Hammond made his professional debut in November 2021. He won his first fight against Ionut Brostic with a first-round finish at Heroes Fight League 2. The SBG Ireland fighter rode his momentum and 2022 and won four more bouts, including three inside the distance.
Hammond’s second win was at Bellator 275, with TUF 31 coach Conor McGregor celebrating in the cage during the post-fight interview. He didn't return to the Scott Coker-run promotion, with his next three fights being split between Heroes Fight League, Super League MMA, and Eire Fighting Championship. The 26-year-old now looks to earn a spot on the UFC roster.
Did Conor McGregor remove another contestant to open a spot for Lee Hammond?
The Ultimate Fighter Season 31 will be coached by UFC superstars Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler. It wasn’t surprising to see McGregor connected to some drama shortly after the show began airing.
Rumors began circulating that McGregor had several contestants removed from the show to make room for his SBG Ireland teammates. MMA manager claimed three fighters were taken off the show at the last minute, but ‘The Notorious’ denies having any association. Lee Hammond was connected to those rumors because he has a good relationship with the former two-division UFC champion.
TUF 31 will feature a combination of former UFC fighters and highly-touted prospects. The other lightweights joining Hammond are Jason Knight, Roosevelt Roberts, Kurt Holobaugh, Austin Hubbard, Nate Jennerman, Landon Quinones, and Aaron McKenzie.