Brendan Allen routs Paul Craig, wants UFC's top middleweights

Brendan Allen submits Paul Craig for a Round 3 win (1:27)

Brendan Allen extends his submission streak to four with a rear-naked choke finish on Paul Craig for the win in Round 3. (1:27)

Brendan Allen picked up his sixth consecutive victory Saturday and immediately called for a No. 1 middleweight contender fight. The UFC might be hard-pressed not to give him one.

Allen (23-5), of Louisiana, improved to 11-2 in the UFC with a submission win over Paul Craig (17-7-1). The finish came via rear-naked choke at the 38-second mark of the third round. It was a dominant performance from start to finish by Allen in the main event at UFC Fight Night inside the Apex facility in Las Vegas.

"I'm a man of my word," Allen said of the breakout performance. "I need a No. 1 contender shot. I think I've deserved it. I've earned it. I've beat everyone they put in front of me. I've finished them."

Allen said he is prepared to fight "whoever" the UFC puts in front of him, calling out the likes of Robert Whittaker, Jared Cannonier and Khamzat Chimaev.

"I'm the No. 1 middleweight in the world," Allen said. "If you disagree, come see me."

Allen, 27, hasn't fought anyone ranked in the top five of the division outside of current champion Sean Strickland, who beat him via TKO in 2020. He looks more than ready for that kind of test, however, as he has recorded finishes in eight of his 11 UFC wins.

Saturday's win over Craig, a dangerous submission specialist, played out like a showcase bout. Allen hurt him on the feet multiple times and showed no respect for his ground game.

According to UFC Stats, Allen out-landed Craig 51-10 in total strikes and racked up 8:11 of control time compared with just 34 seconds for Craig. He bloodied Craig's right eyebrow with an elbow in the first round and staggered him with a right hand in the second. A left hook to the body and head set up the rear-naked choke, as Craig doubled over from the body shot, allowing Allen to seek a guillotine choke and then eventually the rear-naked.

Allen has targeted bigger names in the past, including before his matchup against Craig. He made it no secret he wasn't thrilled to face Craig, who went into Saturday ranked three spots below him.

Strickland is scheduled to defend the belt next against Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297 on Jan. 20 in Toronto.