5 Lightweights I Expect UFC to Sign in 2017

The lightweight division, now ruled by Conor McGregor is one of the bigger divisions in the UFC.  It also seems to be moises-300x300a division that they are willing to add to on a regular basis.  That bodes well for the top prospects in one of the deepest divisions in the sport.  The UFC seems intent on signing the top prospects.  The UFC signed around 20 lightweight fighters in 2016 alone.  I look for them to add more of that same in 2017.

As one might expect the list of prospects in the lightweight division is very long.  We take a look at five of the fighters who are well positioned to get a call from the UFC offering them a contract.  This list does not countdown the top 5 prospects in the division, but rather focuses on who I think the UFC is likely to sign in 2017.  I would be surprised if all of these fighters do not eventually end up there.

  1. Thiago Moises – Moises was the final RFA champion.  Given his ties to RFA, I expect Moises to be in the UFC soon.  I am honestly surprised they have not snatched him up yet.  Moises is super young.  He is just 21 years old.  Perhaps his youth has causes Sean Shelby to be hesitant to sign Moises.  His only loss was to UFC fighter, Jason Knight.  I think that Moises could be a great addition to the roster.  It is possible that he claims that inaugural LFA title before that move, but I would not be surprised if his next fight is in the UFC.
  2. Khusein Khaliev – Khaliev is another guy that I fully expect to be in the UFC soon.  He is currently MMA Sun’s #2 lightweight prospect.  He has a 16-1 career record.  He comes from a fighting family.  He has two brothers who are professional fighters including Adam Khaliev (signed with UFC, but never fought).  Khaliev is a K-Dojo fighter, which certainly helps his chances of signing with UFC.  Khaliev is  another fighter that I am not sure why he is not already in the UFC.  Khusein had previously competed at welterweight and done quite well.  At lightweight he is a real prospect to keep your eye on.
  3. Grant Dawson – The 22 year old Dawson is one or two fights away from a UFC offer.  He is young and exciting.  There may not be another fighter in the lightweight ranks that I feel can shoot up among the prospects like Dawson.  He is the complete package.  Not only do I think he will eventually land in the UFC, but I think he will do very well there.  Dawson is scheduled to fight on Febuary 25th.  A win there inches him closer to a call from Sean Shelby.
  4. Ryan Scope –  Scope is 24 years old and holds a perfect 10-0 career record.  Scope has fought several times at welterweight, but I believe he is better suited for the lightweight division.  The word on the street is that he has had a difficult time finding people willing to fight him.  Scope is one of the many emerging prospects out of the UK.  He has a upcoming fight on February 25th against Lew Long.  If he can win that fight, he may punch his ticket to the UFC.
  5. Chris Fishgold – The Cage Warriors lightweight champion hold a 16-1-1 career mark.  He has received a good deal of buzz in the past few months.  Fishgold is a very good grappler who is able to control opponents on the mat,  I think he poses an interesting threat in the division.  Fishgold is still young as well and will continue to develop his skills.  I think he is a good candidate to be signed with UFC heads to London.

Others: Smail Nikaev, Davi Ramos, Herdeson Batista, Rhys McKee


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