The Cage Warriors Fighting Championship featherweight title has officially been vacated by Jim Alers

Jim AlersJim Alers (Photo: Dolly Clew | Cage Warriors)

The reigning champion has relinquished the belt in order to take up an offer from the UFC, which triggered a release clause in his CWFC deal and sees the Florida native depart the promotion following a hugely successful seven-fight stint.

Alers is set to make his UFC debut against Alan Omer in Abu Dhabi on Friday, April 11, almost a year to the day since being crowned the CWFC featherweight champion.

He said: “I want to thank everyone who has believed in me and supported me from the beginning. Cage Warriors Fighting Championship is one of the biggest reasons I’ve been signed by the UFC.

“They gave me the opportunity to shine around the world and get my name out there. Thank you to everyone at Cage Warriors, from Graham Boylan to all the fans. It’s been a pleasure being your champion.”

After picking up Cage Warriors wins over Brandon Ocasio and Brent Silva early in his career, Alers returned to fight for Cage Warriors in May 2012, when he stopped Matteus Lahdesmaki by TKO to earn a shot at the CWFC belt, which was then in the possession of Conor McGregor.

An injury to McGregor forced the postponement of their meeting, which was fixed for that September, so instead Alers submitted Marcio Cesar in the meantime to maintain his winning momentum.

His shot at McGregor was rescheduled for his opponent’s hometown of Dublin on New Year’s Eve 2012, but another injury – this time sustained by Alers – saw the bout scrapped once again.

McGregor later moved to the UFC, so Alers was pencilled in for a tilt at the vacant strap against Finland’s Joni Salovaara in Glasgow on April 13 of last year, when he emerged with a fourth-round submission win to take the belt back across the Atlantic.

The 27-year-old was taken the distance for the first time in his career when he made his inaugural title defence in Cardiff last September, but Swedish challenger Martin Svensson found himself on the end of a unanimous-decision loss to Alers in the Welsh capital.

Defending the CWFC gold for the second time in his most recent outing, Alers overcame Scottish star Graham Turner via second-round submission to retain the strap.

“Jim leaves with our best wishes, having been a great CWFC champion and a consummate professional throughout his time with us,” said Cage Warriors CEO Graham Boylan.

“He treated us to some magnificent performances and I believe he’ll go on to do extremely well in the years to come.”

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