20 UFC Ready Fighters

Here are 20 guys who are UFC ready and I think could be on the verge of offers from the big show…

1. Brandon Thatch – Welterweight – 9-1
I would be absolutley shocked if his next fight is not in the UFC. He is probably the most UFC ready prospect in MMA right now. That does not mean there aren’t guys with higher ceilings, but he is ready and deserving yesterday.

2. Aljamain Sterling – Bantamweight – 7-0
This guy is the bantamweight Jon Jones. He even trains out of Jon Jones’ old gym, the Bombsquad. He already has some solid wins in his career over guys liek Sean Santella and Claudio Ledesma. He is coming off of an injury, but don’t be surprised if he is in the UFC in 2013. Sterling is a winner and pretty much a sure thing to be a top 5 bantamweight (or higher) at some point.

3. Lance Palmer – Featherweight – 5-0
Palmer fits the mold of a member of Team Alpha Male. He certainly has the talent. His an All-American wrestler who is putting his MMA game together. I am not sure what the hang up is on his career, but he does not seem to be in a hurry. I would suspect that he could get a shot in the big show with one or two more wins.

4. Bubba Jenkins – Lightweight – 3-0
Jenkins is a national champion wrestler who has all the tools to become an elite lightweight. I would be surprised if he is not a future contender in MMA. He still has some improving to do on his feet, but it is only a matter of time for the American Top Team trained fighter.

5. Robert Drysdale – Light Heavyweight – 6-0
I am not sure how much longer the UFC can go without signing Drysdale. He has been stellar in his MMA career. He has been able to take guys down and submit them at will. We are not just talking about him working over low level guys. He is beating solid fighters. I want to see what he can do in the UFC. I know they want him. He was almost there at one point. In fact, he made the cast of TUF 10, but a brain aneursym found in his TUF medicals hindered that. I think he will be fighting in the UFC in 2013 if he wants to.

6. Darrell Montague – Flyweight – 12-2
I am not sure Montague is really a prospect anymore. He is more a proven commodity. He is a top 10 flyweight who’s only loses have come to UFC fighters Ian McCall and Robbie Peralta. I am not sure of the UFC’s plans with the flyweight division, but he should have already been there.

7. Doo Ho Choi – Featherweight – 10-1
There aren’t many top tiered Asian prospects. There just aren’t. However, Choi is highly regarded. He wants to fight in DEEP for a little while I think, but he is UFC ready already. I think if the UFC came to Korea, he would be a shoe in for a phone call. Choi is just 22 years old, so he has time to improve even more.

8. Jan Jorgensen – Heavyweight – 5-0
I am not too keen on Heavyweight MMA. Prospects are hard to gauge in the heavyweight division, but I do like what I see from Jan Jorgensen. The former college Football player has loads of potential. I would like to see him notch another solid named win or two, but he could be UFC bound soon as well.

9. Kyoji Horiguchi – Bantamweight – 10-1
Horiguchi is a disciple of Kid Yamamoto. He is young; 22. He is fun to watch. He has power. His only loss came in a close fight to Ueda. I really would not be surprised to hear of Horiguchi signing to a major North American promotion tomorrow. Also of note here, I think his future really rests in the flyweight division.

10. Justin Gaethje – Lightweight – 8-0
I don’t have Gaethje as my number one lightweight prospect…yet. However, he is trending upwards. I think he could hang in the UFC right now. He is coming off a win over JZ Cavalcante. He is set to face UFC veteran Brian Cobb as World Series of Fighting 3 in June. A win there could seal a UFC offer. Gaethje has been absolutely dominant against everyone he has faced.

11. Michael Materla – Middleweight – 18-3
Materla deserves a chance. Yes, Mamed Khalidov is the top middlweight in Poland, but Materla is right there. He has beaten a host of UFC veterans. In fact, he has beaten 4 UFC veterans in a row (Rodney Wallace, Jay Silva, Matt Horwich and James Zikic). He is scheduled to face Kendall Grove in June. If he beats Grove, he will get a UFC offer…or he should.

12. Nick Newell – Lightweight – 9-0
I have written off Nick Newell constantly. From what I know the UFC is relucatant to sign him because of him having one arm. If he keeps winning they won’t be able to keep denying him. He has proven himself. I don’t know how high his ceileng is, but he is worth a shot. There are less talented fighters who are more a serious injury liability due to their lack of talent than Newell and UFC has signed them. Let the man prove himself on the big stage against top notch competition. The word on the street is that he will fight this summer, with another win and a 10-0 record it would be hard to not give him his chance.

13. Gilbert Burns – Lightweight – 5-0
Durinho is an elite, elite BJJ player. He is a training partner of Vitor Belfort, which has to help his chances of signing with the UFC, right? Nevertheless, he has finished all of his opponents in the first round. I believe he is already the most talented jiu jitsu fighter in the lightweight division. I would love to see him in the big leagues.

14. Henry Cejudo – Flyweight – 2-0
He isn’t ready quote yet. He is only 2-0, but he is an olympic gold medalist. He is still young, which means he will continue to improve in leaps and bounds. Anybody with the kind of base Cejudo has can succeed in MMA. He is not only a great wrestler, but is characmatic, popular and will be a huge draw in the Mexican community which the UFC has their sight set on. I think with his wrestling skill he could compete at a high level already.

15. Sirwan Kakai – Bantamweight – 9-1
The bantamweight division is one of the most prospect filled divisions in MMA. Kakai is near the top of that list. I am frankly shocked he is not in the UFC yet. When UFC went to Sweden the first time, I figured he would be a shoe in. His time is coming. He tried out for TUF 18, and in my opinion, has a great shot of making it.

16. Smealinho Rama – Heavyweight – 6-0
He is 20 years old. He has been uber impressive. Rama is set to fight Chris Barnett on May 10th, a win their could garner some more big show attention. The one problem is that he is fighting for MFC, which does not typically let people bolt for Zuffa offers. Rama will get there eventually, its just a matter of when.

17. Jan Blachowicz – Light Heavyweight – 17-3
I have heard that if he gets a UFC offer he will accept it. Why hasn’t that offer come? I have no clue. He is the best Euro light heavyweight. He has beaten UFC veterans Goran Relijic, Houston Alexander, Ramaeau Theirry Sokoudjou, and Mario Miranda. He has a win over former Bellator champ Christian M’Pumbu. He is big show ready.

18. Max Nunes – Light Heavyweight – 10-0
I am going to hype this 24 year old for days to come. He showed some holes in his last fight, but he also showed some heart. Nunes has all the makings of a future star. When you get to be 10-0 you deserve some attention, and he will get it.

19. Sheymon Moraes – Bantamweight – 5-0
I think the sky is the limit for this kid. He is only 22 and his striking skills are through the roof. He has agreat team, in Team Nogueira. He has potential. He has upside. Keep an eye out for Sheymon.

20. Tom Niinimaki – Lightweight – 18-5
I don’t know that “Stoneface” is a prospect, but he is a solid veteran who deserves his day in the sun. Most people agree his time is long overdue.

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