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If you say you didn’t write Phil Hawes off as an elite prospect with championship potential a few years ago, you’re probably lying. And let’s face it, it was justified. Hawes stormed out of the gate only to lose on the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter 23 in 2016. Then came back-to-back defeats against Louis Taylor and Julian Marquez, and the bandwagon emptied. Most would pack it in, but Hawes only bit down harder on his mouthpiece, and he hasn’t lost since. More impressively, he’s gotten better with each victory, most recently defeating fellow prospect Kyle Daukaus. Hawes IS the real deal, and that bandwagon is filling up again.

WHAT’S NEXT? Deron Winn is reportedly next for Hawes this July, but if that fight doesn’t happen, or if it does and he emerges victorious, I think Gerald Meerschaert would be a stiff test for “Megatron” to see where he’s at as he attempts to climb the 185-pound ladder.


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