5 Middleweights I Expect UFC to Sign in 2017

The UFC’s middleweight division is interesting. There is a solid top 10, but things get wide open after that. I believe emeevthe door is open for a new signing to really emerge in 2017.  The division once ruled by Anderson Silva has a quickly aging top 15.  We assume that several current ranked UFC middleweights will retire sooner than later.  Michael Bisping, Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort, and Tim Kennedy are probably closing in on the end of their careers.

There are several young and quickly rising middleweight prospects that leave promise for the division.  I believe that we will see this division infused with new talent in 2017.  One of the clear observations is that the best middleweight prospects are based out of Russia and Eastern Europe.  We have listed the 5 middleweights that we think are really on the verge of UFC offers.  This list does not necessarily rank the top 5 available middleweights, but highlights the most likely middleweight UFC signings. In 2016, UFC signed 16 middleweights.  There is no reason to assume that number would be any different in 2017.  These fighters are likely at the top of the UFC call list.

  1. Ramazan Emeev – Some of these M-1 deals are tricky.  I believe that Emeev has finished his M-1 deal or is close to finishing it.  He may have to wait through an exclusive negotiation period, but if this is true, I would be surprised if he does not have an eye on the UFC.  Emeev is the top overall middleweight prospect.  Emeev, if given the right match ups could really do well in the UFC’s middleweight division.  There has even been rumor of him dropping to welterweight if he goes to the UFC.
  2. Luke Barnatt – Barnatt is a UFC veteran.  After going 3-3 in the UFC he was released.  Since his release Barnatt has gone 4-0.  The “Bigslow” has a scheduled fight against Mamed Khalidov.  While Barnatt is the underdog in that fight, I really like Luke’s chances in that fight.  If Barnatt beats Mamed Khalidov, not only will he get a UFC offer, but he will be a hot commodity.  The fight against Khalidov is risky, however.  A loss would certainly slow his momentum.
  3. Oskar Piechota – Piechota is a 26-year old Polish fighter with great grappling skills.  I really like his skills.  I think he could do very well in the UFC.  He has not been incredibly active over the past few years, but I think he is UFC ready right now.  He would be a solid signing for any promotion.  Quite frankly, I am a bit surprised he has not received more attention from other promotions.  Think of Piechota as the middleweight Gunnar Nelson.
  4. Rob Wilkinson – Any time a fighter gets to 10-0 he has to draw the attention of UFC matchmakers.  Wilkinson has great potential.  The Australian fighter is a solid all around fighter.  His last fight was for EuroFC.  Perhaps he is one more fight away from a UFC offer.  However, I would not be surprised if he is the next middleweight UFC signed.
  5. Max Nunes – The Swedish fighter has long been on the prospect lists.  I believe 2017 is the year that he finally breaks through.  He is scheduled to fight Vinny Magalhaes in March.  I think he would be a solid addition to the UFC roster and would compete and beat many current UFC middleweights.

Others: Trevin Giles, Ian Heinisch, Pavel Doroftei, Leo Leite, Rafael Lovato, Mike Rhodes

Note: We had Paulo Costa on our list, but it has been reported that he has signed with the UFC.

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