Its landmark marketing partnership freshly in place, Round 5 is pleased to announce the members of the first series of collectible figurines under the UFC brand, a group of six accomplished fighters, as announced Tuesday by Barron Lau, Round 5 CEO and co-founder and Damon Lau, president and co-founder. Figurines for stars Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell, George "Rush" St. Pierre, "Suga" Rashad Evans, Kenny "KenFlo" Florian, Clay "The Carpenter" Guida and Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida are scheduled to be available at retail and at www.Round5MMA.com early next year.
The six collectibles will be presented in a new UFC-themed packaging that includes action photos of each respective fighter's memorable moments as well as a short biography.
"These six athletes provide a strong, varied base for our first UFC series," said Damon Lau. "There are established champions like Chuck Liddell and George St. Pierre, popular up-and-comers like Rashad Evans and Kenny Florian and guys like Clay Guida and Lyoto Machida who have loyal, growing followings."
"We think fans will really connect to these collectibles through their detail and the enhanced packaging," said Barron Lau. "We want them to feel that by owning a Round 5 figurine, they, in a sense, own a piece of that fighter."
The issuance of UFC Series 1 signals the discontinuation of the previous Round 5 Series. The remaining inventory from the 17 figurines issued in the previous four Series under that brand will continue to be available while supplies last. Limited editions and other special versions of the UFC Series 1 athletes are also in the planning stages.
"The Limited Editions we have issued have been wildly popular, so we are definitely looking at expanding those offerings," added Barron Lau.
Liddell, one of the most popular MMA fighters ever, held the UFC light heavyweight belt for two years, using his devastating striking skills to rack up a 21-7 record, including 13 knockouts, against a top-shelf list of opponents since his 1998 debut at UFC 17. He also showed his power by ending all five of his successful title defenses with a KO or TKO.
St. Pierre is often mentioned on the short list of top "pound-for-pound" fighters in MMA, and he's backed up that distinction with wins in his last six bouts, all headliners, to raise his overall mark to 19-2. The UFC welterweight champion proudly represents his native Montreal, Canada.
Evans has shed his underdog status with a series of standout victories, moving to light heavyweight after winning The Ultimate Fighter 2 television series as a heavyweight. Now 13-1-1, successive wins over Michael Bisping, Liddell and Forrest Griffin were surprises to many and earned "Suga" his first title shot earlier this year, a loss to Machida.
Florian is another graduate of The Ultimate Fighter who has fulfilled his promise, springboarding from his strong performance in TUF 1 to post an 11-4 record and headline cards. He has also branched out to the media side of the sport as a weekly host of MMA Live on ESPN and several UFC color commentary stints.
Guida has ridden strong conditioning, action-packed fights and a flashy style to a prolific MMA career, with 35 bouts (25 wins) to his credit. Known as "The Carpenter" for his previous career while he trained and fought for his chance, Guida is a frequent "Fight of the Night" honoree, including his last bout, a split decision defeat in a free-for-all with Diego Sanchez in June.
Machida is also prominent in the "pound-for-pound" discussion, made even more evident by his win over previously-unbeaten Evans at UFC 98 in May, in which "The Dragon's" lightning-quick form and powerful striking was on full display. The undefeated (15-0) UFC light heavyweight champion is scheduled to make his first defense against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua on October 24.