5 Featherweight Prospects the UFC Should Sign
We continue our "Prospects the UFC Should Sign" series, which will take us division by division, breaking down the top prospects who should be signed by the company.
The featherweight division is one of the most underrated divisions in terms of talent depth thanks to its introduction following the demise of WEC and the dropping of weight classes that many top lightweights have made.
The division is in a stranglehold right now under the rule of Jose Aldo, but top talent such as Frankie Edgar, Anthony Pettis and Chad Mendes are among the best 145-pounders currently in the UFC.
Here are five featherweight prospects that the UFC should sign to continue making featherweight one of the most competitive divisions.
Note: Here is last year's top-five list. Of the five, none of them were signed by the UFC.
Last Fight: Split decision win vs. Hiroyuki Takaya
Making his second appearance on this list in two years, Armenian-American Georgi Karakhanyan has continued to be one of the best featherweights not employed by the UFC.
"Insane" is a well-rounded guy who has finished 15 of his opponents (11 submissions, four knockouts). A list of his victims include Japanese brawler Hiroyuki Takaya, Ultimate Fighter veteran Micah Miller and respected MMA veteran Anthony Leone.
This Bellator, Tachi Palace Fights and Dream veteran has big-show experience, so Octagon jitters may not be something this guy would experience if inked by the UFC.
Doo Ho Choi
Last Fight: TKO win vs. Tatsunao Nagakura
At just 22 years old, Doo Ho Choi looks to be the future of the featherweight division and South Korean MMA. His impressive resume and skill set have made him a fan favorite in the Asian MMA scene.
Choi is a knockout artist that uses his hands and knees quite well. Seven of his 10 wins have come via knockout, including demolitions of Mitsuhiro Ishida and Nobuhiro Obiya.
DHC (yep, I am giving him a nickname) could be quite the marketable fighter to the Asian market that the UFC is trying to reach. I am sure his exciting style is also a marketable tool, as he always brings his A-game to the cage.
Last Fight: Submission win vs. Guillermo Serment
Deividas Taurosevicius is a tough guy to call a prospect considering how well-traveled he is. The Lithuanian is a veteran of Ring of Combat, Bellator, WEC, IFL and CFFC.
"Tauro" is a submission ace, owning 13 wins via tapout, which account for all of his stoppages. He is very durable himself, as he has never been stopped in any of his five losses (last two losses were not unanimous).
The grappling-based fighter has beaten a who's-who of MMA fighters, including Frank Carabello (reverse triangle choke), Marlon Moraes (arm-triangle choke), Bart Palaszewski (armbar) and Dan Lauzon (rear-naked choke). A resume like that should easily attract the UFC, who has been home to four of Taurosevicius's victims (Palaszewski, Lauzon, Mackens Semerzier and Javier Vazquez).
Last Fight: Knockout win vs. Alexandre Pimentel
I am not sure what Rick Glenn's contract situation looks like with World Series of Fighting, but if he is not exclusive, he should be a guy that the UFC heavily pursues. The Roufusport product is just 23 years old, but looks like a seasoned veteran every time he walks to the battlefield.
After losing two of his first five pro bouts, Glenn has gone undefeated (with one draw), finishing opponents left and right (seven knockouts, five submissions).
His most recent wins have been against respected veterans. He knocked out Strikeforce veteran Charon Spain, blasted through Canadian prospect Tristan Johnson and smashed previously undefeated Brazilian Alexandre Pimentel in his last fight.
His combination of age and experience means he could be a top guy for years to come.
Last Fight: Unanimous decision win vs. Enoch Wilson
Team Alpha Male's Andre Fili is just 22 years old, but he looks to be the future of that gym. He is a lanky featherweight that is tough as nails and skilled like his Alpha Male predecessors.
Fili has 11 wins, eight of which have come via stoppage (five knockouts, three submissions). His only loss came as a result of a freak knee injury, which should not take away from the fact that he has been terrorizing the West Coast with his brand of fighting.
Of course, let's not forget his great nickname—you've got to be an interesting guy when you go by Andre "Touchy" Fili.