3 Fighters from Each Weight Class the UFC Should Sign
The UFC is the greatest MMA promotion in the world, but even the best things in life could use some additions. As the the premiere organization, the UFC must acquire the best talent in the world.
Here are three fighters in each weight class that should be signed by the UFC, as they would continue to add depth and skill to their respective divisions.
Note: Strikeforce and Bellator fighters were excluded, with the exception of one person.
Bibiano Fernandes (11-3)
Fernandes is ranked by many publications as a top three bantamweight in the world, if not No. 2. The Dream champion has an impressive record with a notable list of victims on it.
The Brazilian owns victories over Antonio Banuelos, Joachim Hansen and Joe Warren, among others. He is an extremely well-rounded fighter, as he possesses powerful hands and impressive submission skills.
Yusup Saadulaev (9-1-1)
Saadulaev has flown under many radars thus far in his career, as the American has only recently begun to make a name for himself in Japan. "Maestro" ground game has troubled many opponents, as he has submitted and grounded a majority of his foes.
His most recent win was over Hideo Tokoro, where he knocked the Japanese fighter with a slam. It's time to bring Saadulaev into the UFC.
Yoshiro Maeda (29-11-4)
A long time veteran of the sport, Maeda's time for the big time needs to be soon before his time in the sport expires. Maeda has the skill and experience to help pad the bantamweight division.
Maeda has beat a whose-who of lighter weight fighters. As the UFC ventures their marketing into Japan, Maeda could prove to be quite useful.
Tatsuya Kawajiri (31-7-2)
Ever since Tatsuya Kawajiri made his debut at featherweight, he has looked unstoppable. The former-lightweight has dispatched Joachim Hansen, Kazuyuki Miyata and Donald Sanchez, all by submission.
Kawajiri was considered a top lightweight before he made his drop to 145 pounds. The UFC is in need of featherweights to help deepen the division, and Kawajiri can definitely do that.
Hiroyuki Takaya (17-9-1)
Hiroyuki Takaya is the second of three Japanese fighters in the featherweight division that this list shows off. Takaya is a knockout artist that could bring excitement and competition to the UFC's featherweight division.
Takeshi Inoue (21-6)
"Lion Takeshi" has been a legend in Japan for a while now, and the time is right to bring in the featherweight.
He has never been finished in his career, but he has knocked out 10 adversaries. He is well-rounded and could handle himself in the Octagon against many in the division.
Eddie Alvarez (23-3)
I know I said no Strikeforce or Bellator guys, but I believe Eddie Alvarez is either a free agent or on the verge of free agency. If this is the case, the UFC needs to swoop in and grab this skilled and well-known lightweight.
A combination of great wrestling, powerful boxing and solid submission skills, Alvarez could instantly be a threat at 155 pounds.
Jadamba Narantungalag (8-2)
Since dropping his first two ever professional fights, Mongolian star Jadamba Narantungalag has won eight straight over mostly respectable opponents.
As said, the UFC is trying to expand into Asia and Narantungalag could help acquire interest. Not only that, but he is a great prospect that could turn into a top competitor in the company.
Ronys Torres (24-4)
Already given a shot in the UFC, Ronys Torres has worked hard to gain access back into the UFC. He is currently on a 10-fight win streak, including victories over Ferrid Kheder, Drew Fickett and Wanderson Silva.
Torres' two-fight stint with the UFC saw him lose to Jacob Volkmann and Melvin Guillard, two very stiff competitors. He was young at that point, so maybe he is ready now.
Gael Grimaud (15-5)
France's Gael Grimaud is an unknown prospect with big-fight possibilities. The submission specialist recently put away Jesse Taylor with an armbar, proving his skills on the ground.
Jim Wallhead (23-6)
Jim Wallhead is a former Bellator employee who has recently been working in England's BAMMA promotion. Since his release from Bellator, he has picked up his momentum.
The judo specialist is a very well-rounded, as he can submit you or knock you out cold. His two recent wins over Frank Trigg and Joey Villasenor show he can handle the bright lights.
Zorobabel Moreira (7-1)
Quietly, Zorobabel Moreira has become an intriguing prospect in the welterweight division, especially after his soccer kick knockout of Roger Huerta.
Moreira has beaten some tough competition in Huerta, Felipe Enomoto and Ferrid Kheder. Given a chance in the UFC, Moreira could be a staple in the division.
Mamed Khalidov (25-4-2)
A long time wish of UFC fans, Mamed Khalidov is still not in the UFC, despite being one of the top middleweights in the world. The Polish-born Khalidov has consistently beat UFC veterans and top independent fighters for some time now, proving that he must make a move to the Octagon.
His list of victims in his past three fights are Matt Lindland, Jesse Taylor and Rodney Wallace. Not bad for the intriguing middleweight.
Alexander Shlemenko (45-7)
A recent Bellator competitor, Alexander Shlemenko is still one of the top middleweights around. The Russian knockout machine is currently signed with Super Fight League, but when his contract is up, he should take a look at the UFC.
Tom Watson (15-4)
Tom Watson is still not in the UFC, which is incredibly questionable to me, as he is a big draw in the UK. Not only that, but he is extremely skilled.
The colorful Brit has the potential to be like Michael Bisping given a little more time. Nottingham hosts a card in September, so hopefully "Kong" can make it on that card.
Anthony Johnson (11-4)
Welterweight and middleweight have not worked out for Anthony Johnson, but the now-light heavyweight should be a given a shot at redemption in the UFC. His only fight since being cut resulted in a victory, even though that was contested at middleweight.
Jan Blachowicz (15-3)
Poland's Jan Blachowicz has shown to be impressive in the European MMA scene, so the time to bring him in may be now. Well-rounded and dangerous, Blachowicz has built a solid resume in his time as a pro.
In his last two fights, Blachowicz has knocked off Rameau Sokoudjou and Mario Miranda, both UFC veterans. A chance should be warranted in the UFC.
Moise Rimbon (19-9-3)
A well-rounded Frenchman, Moise Rimbon has proven that he is capable of beating stiff competition. Taking on all comers, Rimbon, a light heavyweight, owns victories over heavyweights such as DJ Linderman and Peter Graham, as well as fought valiantly against Ricco Rodriguez and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Maybe it's time to pick on somebody his own size, this time in the Octagon.
Damian Grabowski (16-1)
Grabowski's only career loss comes at the hands of Bellator champion Cole Konrad, so that is nothing to be ashamed of. "The Polish Pitbull" is responsible for nine submission and five knockout wins.
I'm not sure if he is contracted with Bellator currently, but if he is not, the UFC should snag him. He has all the skills to make a splash in the division.
Sergei Kharitonov (19-5)
Former Strikeforce heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov should have come to the UFC with the rest of the Strikeforce fighters, but he did not. This is a shame, as he is a brutal knockout artist with polished all-around skills.
He has a chance to be a top heavyweight with the company; all that relies on the UFC signing this powerful Russian to the promotion.
DJ Linderman (12-3)
Another former Bellator performer, Linderman, would be a welcome addition to the UFC. His venture to light heavyweight was a failure, but he has continued to defeat solid heavyweight competition in the meanwhile.
The heavyweight division is thin, so Linderman's signing would be welcome.