Fresh Ink: Meet the 3 fighters the UFC signed in February 2023

The UFC roster is bigger than ever – and it continues to expand.

Fresh faces appear on nearly every card, whether onboarded as short-notice opening fillers, Dana White’s Contender Series signees, or the increasingly rare straight-up additions. Sometimes, it’s hard to keep track of the hustle and bustle of the mixed martial arts news beat, but here at MMA Junkie, we’ve got you covered.

“Fresh Ink” is your list of fighters added to the UFC roster the previous month and provides background on who they are and where they came from.

Check out the February 2023 list below.

Carl Deaton

Record when signed: 17-5

Signing type: Short notice

Weight class: Lightweight

Age: 33

Debut: Feb. 25 loss vs. Joe Solecki (13-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 218 via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:55

[autotag]Carl Deaton[/autotag] put in his time before he finally got the UFC call – 12 years after he made his pro debut. After 23 professional fights that included bouts in various regional promotions and PFL, Deaton stepped in on short notice against Joe Solecki and was submitted in Round 2.

Stephen Erceg

Record when signed: 9-1

Signing type: Straight up

Weight class: Flyweight

Age: 27

Debut: TBA

One of the top pound-for-pound fighters on the Australia/New Zealand regional scene, [autotag]Stephen Erceg[/autotag] finally punched his ticket to the UFC after an impressive performance in front of important promotional brass. The same weekend of UFC 284, Erceg competed in Perth and defeated Soichiro Hirai at Eternal MMA 73. UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell and matchmaker Mick Maynard liked what they saw and offered Erceg a contract backstage.

Kevin Lee

Record when signed: 19-7

Signing type: Straight up

Weight class: Lightweight

Age: 30

Return: TBA

[autotag]Kevin Lee[/autotag] doesn’t really need an introduction. He’s a former UFC interim lightweight title contender, a multitime headliner, and an 18-fight promotional vet. Lee was released from the UFC in 2021, weeks after he failed a drug test for an ADHD medication. He competed once outside the promotion, before his recent return, when he defeated Diego Sanchez by unanimous decision at Eagle FC 46 in March 2022.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie