With the UFC establishing itself as the biggest mixed martial arts promotion, having the top fighters from around the world is a must. Many of the fighters in the UFC are definitely top fighters. However, there are many more top fighters that are outside of the UFC. With it's popularity, it's increasing pay per view numbers, and it's expansion into the UK and Canada, the UFC needs to continue providing top matches for the fans. Many of UFC's weight classes are stacked with the top fighters in the world, however in other weight classes they are still lacking top fighters. Here are 8 fighters that the should consider to provide the top fights.
LIGHTWEIGHT- Takanori "The Fireball Kid" Gomi (28-3-0)
Takanori Gomi is considered by many people, the #1 lightweight fighter in the world. He is a major star in Japan, and was one of Pride's biggest names. Gomi has faced many of the best lightweights throughout his career. His last notable win was against another top five lightweight, Mitsuhiro Ishida in 2006. Since then, Gomi had lost to welterweight Nick Diaz, but was later ruled as a no contest. Gomi's next fight was against Duane Ludwig, which he won by a TKO due to a cut. Since Gomi is considered the best lightweight in the world, he needs to face other top lightweights to truly claim the division, and the UFC should be looking at him.
LIGHTWEIGHT- Gesias "JZ" Calvancante (14-2-1)
"JZ" is without a doubt a top five lightweight. He has made a name for himself in Japan, fighting in the "K-1 Hero's" promotion. His biggest accomplishments are winning the "K-1" lightweight tournament in 2006, and again in 2007. Since then, "JZ" has been involved with Japan's new "Dream" lightweight tournament. In the opening round "JZ" faced other top lightweight, Shinya Aoki. Their first fight ended in a no contest, and they recently had a rematch which Aoki won by a close decision. Recently it was reported that Aoki was injured during the fight, and has now pulled out of the tournament. Whether "JZ" will replace Aoki is yet to be seen.
LIGHTWEIGHT- Shinya "Tobikan Judan" Aoki (15-2-0)
Aoki is another big star in Japan, mainly fighting in "Pride" and "Shooto". For a long time Aoki had been considered a top lightweight, but had not faced a big name in the lightweight division. Aoki's chance to make a big name for himself came when he was to face Gesias "JZ" Calvancante, in the opening round of the "Dream" lightweight tournament. Aoki was struck in the back of the head in the fight, and was unable to continue. As a result the fight was ruled a no contest. In the rematch, Aoki showed his excellent ground skills and was able to neutralize "JZ", and had earned a win by decision. Aoki however was injured, and has pulled out of the tournament. With a win over "JZ", Aoki has become a top name.
WELTERWEIGHT- Jake Shields (20-4-1)
Shields is considered a top 10 welterweight. With almost all top welterweights currently in the UFC, it is hard to see any of them beating Georges St. Pierre. Shields is similar to St. Pierre, with an excellent wrestling and ground game. Shields is a very durable fighter, who has faced top competition, and has only been finished once early on in his career. Shields as well has not lost a fight since 2004. Lately Shields has done nothing but dominate in the "Elite XC" promotion. A match up with St.Pierre would be classic, and would could go either way.
MIDDLEWEIGHT- Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (8-1-0)
"Jacare" is considered one of the top submission wrestlers in the world today. He is a brazilian jiu-jitsu expert from Brazil. After much success in different competitions, "Jacare" decided to step into MMA. "Jacare"'s first fight is his only lost on his record. Since then, "Jacare" has won every one of his fights by submission in the first round. "Jacare" also had a draw with Randy Couture in a grappling competition. "Jacare" is currently in the "Dream" middleweight tournament in Japan. For a fighter who is early in his MMA career, he has received a lot of attention as a top submission grappler. A match up with UFC's "Anderson Silva" would be amazing to see. If "Jacare" could take Silva down, Silva would be in a lot of trouble.
MIDDLEWEIGHT - Paulo "Ely" Filho (16-0-0)
Filho is of the most interesting middleweights in the world. He is a top five middleweight with an undefeated record. He is a brazillian jiu-jitsu expert, and has won almost half of his fights by submission. What makes Filho so interesting is his appearance, he is a "Sean Sherk" of the middleweight division. Being 5'8 and 185 pounds, Filho uses his raw strength and speed to defeat his opponents. Filho is currently the "WEC" champion, which is an organization that the UFC promotes. With Filho's continued success, it is not hard to see him fight UFC's middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, some time soon.
The lightheavyweight division is the devision that the UFC has covered, no question. All top ten lightheavys are from the UFC. Top lightheavyweights such as Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Dan Henderson, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, and Wanderlai Silva, are all there. Also the future of the devision are also there with names like Keith Jardine, Forrest Griffin, and Lyoto Machida. All of whom have uncoming fights with the big names.
HEAVYWEIGHT- Josh "The Babyfaced Assasin" Barnett (21-5-0)
It is safe to say that the UFC's heavyweight division needs help. With Randy Couture on the sidelines, the uncertainty with Andrei Arlovski, and the departure of Tim Sylvia, the UFC is in need of big name heavyweights. Josh Barnett is a grappler who is very talented. With his size, power, and a 66% submission rate, Barnett offers any heavyweight a tough challenge. A few years ago, Barnett was among the best in "Pride". He had consistently fought other top heavyweights such as Mirko Cro Cop, and Antonio Rodrico Nogueira. Barnett never however had the chance to face the #1 heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko. With the purchase of "Pride", Barnett has not faced top competition in a while. Acquiring Barnett would definitely be a boost for the UFC.
HEAVYWEIGHT- Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko (27-1-0)
The name "Fedor" is a name that many North American MMA fans have started to hear more and more. When Randy Couture came back into the UFC as a heavyweight, he was hoping the UFC could bring Fedor in. When the UFC were unable to do so, Randy decided to stop fighting. Since then, many fans have wondered about this fighter. Fedor is considered by most to be the #1 fighter in the world. Some may argue this, but it is tough to argue that point until he loses. Fedor has one lose on his record, which was a cut during one of his early career fights. A few years ago in "Pride", it was no question whether Fedor was #1 or not. He had beaten the #2 ranked fighter twice, and had beat the #3 ranked fighter. Since the purchase of "Pride", Fedor has become a free agent, and has not been facing top competition. Fedor's next fight however will take place in July when he faces former UFC heavyweight champion, Tim Sylvia. If Fedor manages to beat Tim Sylvia, and beat him convincingly, the UFC will have no choice but to bring him in, whatever his price tag may be.