Before there was Michael Bisping, there was Phil Harris. Before Dan Hardy introduced “The Outlaw” to UFC fans both at home and abroad, Phil Harris was plying his trade in an England that wasn’t exactly ready for mixed martial arts.
“No one really took much interest in it,” said Portsmouth’s Harris, a pro since 2003. “People just thought you were fighting and that it wasn’t really a sport. It wasn’t until a few years later when I already had 10-12 fights that people started recognizing it and knowing it wasn’t a thug’s game, but a proper sport.”
By the time that 12th fight rolled around, the UFC explosion that was kick started by the first season of The Ultimate Fighter was going on, and Harris was building a name for himself on the local circuit, submitting opponents left and right. He even opted to take on a young Brazilian that was rolling through town named Jose Aldo in September of 2005.