10 UFC Fighters Who Need to Move to Strikeforce
With fighters like Gilbert Melendez, Luke Rockhold, and King Mo Lawal, Strikeforce has some legitimate talent.
The problem is, their talent pool is so limited that unless the organization wants to keep trotting out the same 5 fights as main events over and over again, they need to either add some talent or create some of their own.
While Strikeforce has valiantly been trying to create stars through their Challengers series over the past few years, the number of marketable fighters they have gained has been minimal and with the Challengers events now defunct, they’ll need to find talent from another source.
Obviously this is alluding to the UFC.
The biggest organization has plenty of fighters who are stuck in the middle of their respective divisions, and while they are far away from title fights in the UFC, they would be instant title contenders in Strikeforce.
Before UFC 141, Jon Fitch was considered to be the second-best welterweight in the world and was finally nearing his second chance at UFC gold.
One left hand from Johny Hendricks later, and Fitch is farther away from title contention than he’s ever been.
A move to Strikeforce would be extremely beneficial to the AKA-based fighter, as his chances at earning UFC gold have all but diminished and he would bring a ton of legitimacy to the Strikeforce welterweight division.
“The Crippler” is currently serving a 12-month suspension for taking painkillers prior to his fight against Mark Munoz back in November, but when Chris Leben is able to return to active competition, Strikeforce is where it should be.
Leben is one of the most entertaining fighters in the sport, and current Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold has limited options as far as potential opponents go.
Leben would the organization a much-needed shot in the arm with his kill-or-be-killed style, and he could contend for a title immediately.
Everyone knows the story behind Kenny Florian’s title woes, but we’ll explain it one more time.
“Kenflo” has had three title shots in the UFC and he has come up short in all three of them.
After a failed stint at featherweight, Florian is set to move back to the lightweight division, and a fourth title shot in the UFC is unprecedented and unlikely.
A fight against Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce title is probably his best chance at winning a title before he retires, and he is popular enough to get a shot upon his arrival in the promotion
Once considered to be the future of the sport, the last few years have not been very kind to Brandon Vera.
“The Truth” has struggled against top competition as of late and is nowhere near title contention in the UFC, but like Keith Jardine showed us, a big name is all it takes to get opportunities in Strikeforce.
Fights against Gegard Mousasi and Rafael Cavalcante would attract some attention among fight fans and if he is able to win a few fights, Vera would soon be able to fight for a major title.
A striker who has no fear in engaging in a slugfest, Dan Hardy would fit right in the Strikeforce welterweight division.
After his failed title opportunity against Georges St-Pierre at UFC 111, Hardy has quickly fallen down the welterweight ladder, losing four fights in a row. A change of scenery might be what he needs to get his career back on track.
His current losing streak might not be enough to earn him an immediate title shot, but that’s what most fans were saying about Keith Jardine prior to his title fight this weekend.
After being out of competition with an injury for over a year, Alan Belcher returned to the Octagon with an impressive win over Jason MacDonald back in September, and is he quietly moving up the middleweight rankings.
Even though he is on a decent win streak, he is still miles away from a UFC title fight, and a move to Strikeforce would put him on the short list of contenders at 185.
Belcher is well-rounded enough to pose a threat to the Luke Rockhold’s and Tim Kennedy’s of the division, and he would be an entertaining addition to the organization.
After two unsuccessful bids for the UFC lightweight title, Gray Maynard is going to have an extremely hard time getting another shot at UFC gold as long as Frankie Edgar rules the division.
Maynard is seemingly stuck in no man's land as far as the lightweight landscape goes, so a move to Strikeforce to challenge Melendez makes a ton of sense.
Maynard is obviously one of the best in the 155-pound division, but if he doesn’t do something drastic, his chance at getting a belt will soon be over.
The former Marine was nearing a UFC title fight prior to losing to Chael Sonnen at UFC 136, but a quick submission loss has moved Brian Stann back to the fringe of contenders.
While he can easily get back on track with a few wins in the UFC, his takedown defense is still suspect enough to pose problems for him in the middleweight division, something that would not matter as much in Strikeforce.
Stann is a perfect fighter for Zuffa to market to the mainstream crowd and it would be much easier for them if he were the champion of their secondary promotion.
The first-ever Ultimate Fighter winner, Diego Sanchez has a long history with the UFC and, to be honest, it’s hard to imagine him fighting anywhere else.
But if Sanchez is unable to beat rising contender Jake Ellenberger in February, he’ll move back to the middle of the pack in the welterweight division for what seems like the hundredth time.
A move to Strikeforce would give him a chance to win a major title for the first time in his MMA career, and he would be an extremely marketable star for the promotion.
After getting brutally submitted by Jon Jones at UFC 140, everything from a rematch with Shogun Rua to a drop to middleweight has been rumored for Lyoto Machida, but maybe a move to Strikeforce would make the most sense for the former UFC champion.
Machida is still known as one of the best light heavyweights in the sport, but his recent fights have not gone as well as he would have hoped, and a new group of opponents may be beneficial.
“The Dragon” would add a huge name to Strikeforce’s 205-pound division and he would immediately become the favorite to bring home the vacant title.