Every champion in MMA history started out somewhere.

For those who make it to the highest stage, the journey begins long before they strap on UFC, Bellator, or PFL gloves. Modern-era fighters progress through the regional ranks with hopes of accomplishing the highest accolades. Many will try, few will succeed.

This month, five fighters on the verge of achieving major promotion notoriety – one for the second time – return to the cage for what could be their stepping stone fight. There are dozens of fighters close to making the jump in the coming weeks, but these five are particularly exemplary.

This month:

A wrestler from AKA is excited to finally prove his worth to any major promotion watching when he makes his lightweight debut.
A former UFC fighter continues to win and win and win outside of the promotion – and hopes one more victory pushes him over the top and back with the promotion.
An undefeated Brazilian wants to capitalize on a big opportunity for LFA in order to climb into the ranks of a major promotion.
A British Cage Warriors champion hopes putting a definitive stamp on the lifetime series against a past rival gets him the UFC call.
One of the Middle East’s most entertaining fighters looks to extend his winning streak to four and catch the attention of the UFC.

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