New Zealand has another mixed martial artist in the UFC, with Brad Riddell to make his promotional debut at UFC 243 in Melbourne in October.

Another product of Auckland's City Kickboxing gym, Riddell will join teammates Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker on the card in Melbourne, with his opponent still to be decided.

The UFC are yet to confirm Riddell's signing, but the 27-year-old told the Herald he had put pen to paper.

"My reaction was pretty mixed because I heard there were problems with getting me in and I was going to have to wait longer, so I wasn't expecting it to be honest," he said.


"I'm a happy man."

Riddell becomes the sixth New Zealand fighter to join the UFC's ranks, alongside Adesanya, Hooker, fellow City Kickboxing teammates Kai Kara-France and Shane Young, and Hamilton's Luke Jumeau.

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Posted by Engage on Monday, 2 September 2019

The Christchurch-born fighter has long been tipped by many local MMA fans as the next Kiwi likely to earn a spot on the roster of the world's biggest promotion in the sport. In seven professional MMA bouts, Riddell holds a 6-1 record with five wins coming by knockout, and has a deep history in Muay Thai.

His most recent MMA bout was in Australia in July, where he showed an impressive display of wrestling to secure a unanimous decision win to claim the Wollongong Wars welterweight championship.

While he has been fighting at welterweight, Riddell will join the UFC in the lightweight division, which is arguably the deepest, most competitive division in the UFC.

"It's only another few kilos; I'll survive," Riddell said of dropping down a weight class.

"I'm going to take the lightweights by storm, and then when I'm done with them I'll move up.

"It's a good division for me to be in. It's deep, there's a lot of talented fighters; if you want a division to prove you're the best fighter in the world in, that's the one."


It will be a promotional debut like few other, with his first fight being at Marvel Stadium - where 60,000 seats are expected to be filled.

Riddell had visited the ground recently while in Melbourne to help Adesanya prepare for a press conference, and said the stadium was "unreal".

"It's the closest thing you can be to a modern day gladiator. When it's full and there's a cage in the middle, everyone is looking at two people, hoping for someone to just get bowled over, it's going to be freaky; it's going to be awesome."