MMA: A Not-So-Greedy Christmas List of Fighters for the UFC
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First off, let us establish a couple of fighters from each weight class that, I believe, the majority of people would want in the UFC:
Heavyweight: Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem
Light Heavyweight: Gegard Mousasi, Muhammed Lawal, Rafael Cavalcante
Middleweight: Hector Lombard, Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza, Robbie Lawler
Welterweight: Nick Diaz, Ben Askren
Lightweight: Eddie Alvarez, Gilbert Melendez, Shinya Aoki
Featherweight: Joe Warren, Bibiano Fernandes
Bantamweight: Masakazu Imanari, Masakatsu Ueda
Now I know I didn’t name off every single fighter that everyone wants inside the UFC, but my goal is to bring together a list, a fighter from each weight class, that I would like to see fight in the UFC that most of you I’m sure have heard of (or maybe haven’t) but possibly haven’t considered how they would compete in the 8 sided cage (or maybe you have).
Heavyweight: Cole Konrad (7-0-0)
Cole Konrad, courtesy of (http://www.cdn.sherdog.com/thumbnail_crop/600/_images/pictures/20100621123430_IMG_7641.JPG)
Hopefully, one recognizes his name in MMA as he is, the Bellator Fighting Championships: Season Three Heavyweight Tournament winner, and currently the defending champion.
Of course his wrestling accomplishments are also outstanding: gold medal winner from the 2005 Pan American Championships, 2x national wrestling champion out of the University of Minnesota (2006, 2007), and lastly he placed third in the 2006 World University Championships.
If none of those ring a bell, you probably heard Joe Rogan or Mike Goldberg overindulge in his credentials every time they mention Brock Lesnar’s training partners.
Cole Konrad in the heavyweight division, which is in dire need of depth, would be a superb addition that won’t cost Dana White a fortune. Obviously, they will initially market him as Lesnar’s training partner, but I have confidence that he will come into his own.
Konrad needs to work on his game, which he no doubt is at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, but in the meantime he will be able to rely on his wrestling.
Travis “Diesel” Wiuff (63-14-0) (1)
Travis Wiuff, Courtesy of (http://www.fiveknuckles.com)
Wiuff is a veteran that has more experience than most, competing in both the Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight divisions.
Wiuff had his shot in the UFC, first in 2002 against Vladimir Matyushenko, in which he lost, submitting to strikes in the first round.
The second time, three years later after winning an astounding 19 fights in a row, he was submitted by well known Renato Sobral with an armbar in the second.
Since the loss, Wiuff has pulled of 28 wins out of 38 contest with one no contest involved, a record worthy of a third shot.
In his time after the scrap with “Babalu,” he has defeated Matt Horwich, Ricco Rodriguez, Chris Tuchscherer, Kazuyuki Fujita, and Jeff Monson (all though controversial).
In his lifetime he has been a 2x JUCO All-American Wrestler, tournament winner of Yamma, 2x IFO Lightheavy weight Champion, IFC Americas cruiserweight champion, and United States IFC light heavyweight champion.
Wiuff is well rounded, having 20 wins by (technical) knock out, and 22 wins by submission. In addition, Wiuff is a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and trains out of the outstanding gym of Elite Performance.
Middleweight: Mamed Khalidov (20-4-2)
Mamed Khalidov, courtesy of (http://47.img.v4.skyrock.net/478/ibragim20-06-1996/pics/2870313072_1.jpg)
After a rough 3-3 start in his MMA career, Khalidov reeled off 14 victories, then fighting to a draw against Daniel Tabera, then winning three more contests before losing a rematch to middleweight standout, Jorge Santiago.
An extremely exciting and well-rounded fighter, he would be a welcome addition to the UFC middleweight division that has had trouble finding valid challengers. Out of his 20 wins, ten have come by way of submission, and nine by way of knock out. In fact, his only decision win was his first professional career win in 2004.
Khalidov holds wins over fighters such as: Jason Guida, Jorge Santiago as mentioned, Chute Box product Daniel Acacio, and Ultimate Fighter Finale headliner Igor Pokrajac.
While his resume doesn’t produce the most know opponents, he is a killer, so to speak, Khalidov likes to finish fights, and he wins a significant majority of them. Winning fights with his feet, fists, and grappling prowess, he isn’t an easy fight for anybody.
Welterweight: Dan Hornbuckle (22-3-0)
Dan Hornbuckle, (courtesy of http://cdn3.sbnation.com/imported_assets/359938/dan-hornbuckle-2.jpg)
Hornbuckle gained most of his notoriety with his victories over Nick the “GOAT” Thompson and Akihiro Gono in the Sengoku promotion.
Currently contracted in the Bellator ranks, he’s fought back to back tough warriors in the Olympian Ben Askren, and UFC veteran Brad Blackburn, splitting the pair and taking the "W" in a decision over Blackburn.
“The Handler” possesses devastating finishing ability both on the feet and on the canvas. Finishing ten of his fights with submissions, and ten with (T)KO’s.
In the later part of the decade, Hornbuckle put the welterweight division on notice, serving up highlight reel knockouts, including the leveling head kick that he delivered to Gono, and his vast arsenal of submissions.
Lightweight: Lyle Beerbohm (16-0-0)
Lyle Beerbohm, courtesy of (sherdog.com)
Currently an on again off again employee for Strikeforce, with his latest win in the promotion coming in May of 2010 against former top ten lightweight Vitor Riberio (though it was controversial), he’ll be looking to make noise in the division as we progress into 2011.
While he currently is flying under many peoples radar he won’t be for long, as a movie chronicling his life is set to come out in 2011: No Submisson: The Lyle Fancy Pants Beerbohm Story.
When watching Beerbohm fight, it’s easy to tell he’s a fighter that likes to get things started, he prefers to make contact, push the pace, and force his top game on the ground.
Beerbohm, after struggling with drug addictions and use, he spent one year in prison and during that time he was exposed to The Ultimate Fighter series and claims to have been “addicted” ever since.
All the fighters are far from the strap, but you never know. courtesy of (http://www.30minutesofblack.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/UFC51titlebelt1.JPEG)
Don’t get me wrong, there are many more guys that could have made this list that I didn’t include, but these are just prospects I think it would be wise to keep an eye on. All of them have improvements to make, as each and every fighter can, but these individuals will more than likely make a splash in there prospective divisions.