The Top BJJ Practitoners in The World of MMA

There are some great BJJ practioners out there.  Many of them have chosen a career in mixed martial arts and many of them have faired very well.  However, the transfer is not easy and MMA is a different baby than jiu jitsu.  If you don’t believe me try taking punshed to the face while working for your submissions.  Some guys have been very successful.  Any time I give a list I am sure to make notable omissions.  Any omissions are out of my ignorance and not simply a bad ranking.  Ranking jiu jitsu practioners in MMA is difficult because of weight class divisions.  However, I will rank them by overall success in MMA, potential to be a champ and jiu jitsu credentials in the MMA world.

 

1.       Demian Maia – The UFC middleweight contender may not be the best in the world at jiu-jit-su, but he has done very well in MMA and is always a submission threat.

2.        Ronaldo “Jacare” de Souza – He has done well in MMA and is a legend on the ground

3.       Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira – His MMA career merits him a top spot.

4.        Royce Gracie

5.        Ricardo Almeida

6.        Rousimar Palhares

7.        Jake Shields

8.       Shinya Aoki

9.       Vinny Magalhes – The TUF 8 cast member is a stud on the ground and as of now he is NOT better than Nogueira

10.   Robert Drysdale – I was hesitant to put him on this list because he just started in MMA, but he very well may be the best BJJ practitioner in the world right now

11.    Roger Gracie

12.   Waggney Fabiano

13.   Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro

14.    Fabricio Werdum

15.   Dean Lister

16.    Dustin Hazelett

17.    Nate Marquardt

18.    Thales Leites

19.   B.J. Penn

20.   Nate Diaz

21.   Frank Mir

22.   Gabriel Gonzaga

23.   Ricardo Arona

24.   Rani Yahya

25.   Renato “Babalu” Sobral

26.   Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

27.   Andre Galvao

28.   Vitor Belfort

29.   Marcio Cruz

30.   Jeff Monson

31.   Mark Kerr

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The MMA Free Agent Market Is Full

1.       Jake Shields

Record: 22-4-1

Key Wins: Nick Thompson, Carlos Condit, Paul Daley, Yushin Okami, Dane Menne, Hayato Sakurai

Key Losses: Akira Kikuchi

MMABlog Ranking: #3 Ranked Welterweight

Jake Shields is no doubt the best free agent on the market now due to the collapse of EliteXC.  However, I do not know if there is much competition for his services.  I believe most people are pretty sure that Shields will sign with the UFC.  There is a lack of welterweight talent everywhere else.  Look for Shields to be in the Octagon by Spring ’09.  Not only will Shields be in the UFC he will be competing for a title shot immediately.

 

2.       Eddie Alvarez

Record: 15-1

Key Wins: Tatsuta Kawajiri, Joachim Hansen

Key Losses: Nick Thompson

MMABlog Ranking: #4 Ranked Lightweight

Alvarez gained a lot of fame in MMA circles with his performance in the DREAM lightweight tournament.  Alvarez fought very well as a welterweight, but the drop down to lightweight is a good move for Alvarez.  Alvarez, who made it to the finals of the DREAM lightweight grand prix.  Alvarez is  a top tier lightweight.  I look to see him back in Japan seeking to get the lightweight DREAM belt that he feels is rightfully his.

 

3.       Yoshihiro Akiyama

Record: 12-1

Key Wins: Denis Kang, Melvin Manhoef, Katsuyori Shibata

Key Losses: Jerome LeBanner

MMABlog Ranking: #14 Ranked Middleweight

The rumors that have been swirling have been that Akiyama has been in discussions with Sengoku and with the UFC.  As much as I’d like to see him in the UFC and as much as I think the UFC would like to have him, I would be shocked if he ended up there.  I would give a definite advantage in negations to the Japanese organization.  However, the UFC is seeking a worldwide expansion and adding another Korean fighter of a top caliber would be a huge plus.  Akiyama is a top 10-15 middleweight without a doubt.  I’d like to see him up his level of competition though.

4.       Robbie Lawler

Record: 16-4

Key Wins: Scott Smith, Frank Trigg, Joey Villasenor, Murilo Rua, Chris Lytle

Key Losses: Jason Miller, Nick Diaz, Evan Tanner

MMABlog Ranking: #5 Ranked Middleweight

Most people consider Robbie Lawler a top 5 middleweight in the world and many have him as high as number 3.  There is no doubt that there will be a lot of offers out there for Robbie Lawler, but the odds on favorite has to be the UFC.  He seemed to like the idea of a return to the octagon.  The problem with that for Lawler is that he will go from being a big fish in a small pond to being a small fish in a big pond.  The UFC is always looking for good competition for Anderson Silva and what better competition than the EliteXC middleweight champ.  If the UFC could add Lawler it would be huge.  Think about this, the UFC middleweight division has been the one touted as being weak.  Dana White has said that it is not weak it just appears weak because of Anderson Silva.  It is possible that the UFC in a matter of a few months will have added the #2 middleweight in Paulo Filho and the #3 middleweight in Robbie Lawler as well as vying for guys like top 10 Akiyama.  Lawler is an instant challenger for the belt and there will be much clamoring for Silva vs. Lawler.  If he is not with the UFC I’d be shocked.  In his first run in the UFC, Lawler went 4-3.  Let’s see if he can do better in a second stint.  Other promotions will come calling so the UFC isn’t a lock, but they are bound to give a good offer.

 

5.       Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante

Record: 7-1

Key Wins: Wayne Cole, Travis Galbraith

Key Losses: Marcio Cruz

MMABlog Ranking: #21 Ranked Light Heavyweight

Feijao has the potential to be a UFC champion.  He trains with the Nogueira and Anderson Silva and has looked very impressive.  He has all the tools to be a champion.  I look for Feijao to land in the UFC.  That is where he can be best developed.  The UFC would be smart to slowly work him up.  I would be shocked to see him sign elsewhere.  I would go as far to say that he is a top priority for the UFC, especially among the EliteXCers.

 

6.       Tito Ortiz

Record: 15-6-1

Key Wins: Ken Shamrock (x3), Forrest Griffin, Patrick Cote, Evan Tanner, Wanderlei Silva, Vladimir Matyushenko, Vitor Belfort

Key Losses: Frank Shamrock, Chuck Liddell (x2), Randy Couture, Lyoto Machida

MMABlog Ranking: #20 Ranked Light Heavyweight

Tito Ortiz has been rumored to be everywhere.  First, it was rumored he was going to Affliction and signing a record deal.  Then we heard he was headed to the EliteXC.  Those both fell through.  Now, following back surgery we are waiting to see where Ortiz will land.  Say what you want about Tito, he is still a top draw.  I do not like him as a fighter, but he is worth big money because of his fan base.  His record is impressive as well.  He boasts big wins over big names and his losses have come to the best of the best.  However, the past few years have been a different story.  Ortiz has struggled to get wins.  He has not won a fight in 2 years.  That has to hurt the size of offers.  Tito is about 2 things: Money and Tito.  Whoever will give him the most money and the most camera time will get Tito.  We know of his feud with the UFC and with Dana White, so I still doubt he will end up there, but it is possible.  I still have to guess that Affliction is his best bet.  We will see though, he very well could end up back in the UFC.  Ortiz only has one fight outside the UFC, so it would be weird to see him somewhere else, but I think that is what we will see, but overall I think Tito doesn’t care to fight anymore and perhaps he is past his prime.

 

7.       Antonio Silva

Record: 11-1

Key Wins: Justin Eilers, Ricco Rodriguez, Wesley Correira

Key Losses: Eric Pele

MMABlog Ranking: #19 Ranked  Heavyweight

The giant heavyweight is a solid fighter that would be a good add anywehere.  However, he is currently under suspension from the CSAC because of an alleged failed steroid test.  He will be out until July on ’09.  This will hurt his marketability.  Nevertheless, he is a solid add to any organization.  I would have to believe that most promotions will extend him an offer.  For him to get into the UFC he may need a win or two under his belt (or maybe not).  I am sure the UFC would like to ass another great heavyweight, but I’d look for him to start fighting in Japan.  DREAM would be my prediction. 

 

8.       Ricardo Arona

Record: 13-5

Key Wins: Alistair Overeem, Wanderlei Silva, Kazushi Sakuraba, Dean Lister, Murilo Rua, Dan Henderson, Guy Mezger, Jeremy Horn (x2)

Key Losses: Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Shogun Rua, Fedor Emelianenko, Quintion Jackson, Wanderlei Silva

MMABlog Ranking: #17 Ranked Light Heavyweight

No one really knows where the Brazilian Tiger has been in the fight world.  Arona is ranked in the top 20 by most in the light heavyweight division, despite being out of action since April of 2007.  I do not know if PRIDE’s collapse or Sokoudjou’s KO of him has kept him out, but we are waiting to see Arona again.  Just look at his wins over top named fighters.  Wow!  His only losses has come to top notch fighters.  Arona has said before that the UFC is a perfect place for him to fight.  He could end up there, but I still think he ends up somewhere in Japan first.  However, if he wants to fight long term he will need to be in Affliction of the UFC.  I’d like to see him in the UFC and make a re-match between him and Sokoudjou, but I am not holding my breath.

 

9.       Denis Kang

Record: 31-10-1

Key Wins: Akihiro Gono, Murilo Rua

Key Losses: Gegard Mousasi, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Kazuo Misaki, Jason Miller, Joe Doerksen

MMABlog Ranking:

There was a period between 2003 and 2006 when Denis Kang went 22-0-1.  The Canadian middleweight is coming off of an impressive win over Marvin Eastman on October 25th and is now a free agent.  I imagine he will get some offers and attention.  I haven’t heard anything about which direction he will go, but I would guess Affliction would be a good place for him.  I would guess the UFC would make him an offer, but I don’t know if he will land there.  He has done some fighting in Japan so DREAM is a possibility as well.  I look for this signing to happen sooner than later.

10.   Joey Villasenor

Record: 26-6

Key Wins: Jorge Santiago, Ryan Jensen, Phil Baroni, David Loiseau

Key Losses: Murilo Rua, Robbie Lawler, Ryo Chonan, David Terrell

MMABlog Ranking:  #19 Ranked Middleweight

Smokin’ Joe is a solid fighter who trains out of Team Jackson.  I would be surprised if he does not land a stint with the UFC.  He has said that is what he wants and I think they will make an offer to him.  He was scheduled to fight Lawler for the EliteXC middleweight title in November, but EliteXC’s collapse ended that.  How about Lawler vs. Villasenor in the UFC?  

 

11.   Nick Diaz

Record: 18-7

Key Wins: Gleison Tibau, Josh Neer, Drew Fickett, Chris Lytle, Robbie Lawler, Takanori Gomi

Key Losses: K.J. Noons, Sean Sherk, Diego Sanchez, Joe Riggs, Karo Parisyan

MMABlog Ranking: #23 Ranked Lightweight

Nick Diaz is a liability for any promotion.  There is no doubt that he is tough and a good fighter, but he is a horrible representative of MMA.  Dana White has criticized him and I think Nick’s attitude after fighters will keep him out of the UFC. 

I think Nick Diaz is a bad a**. Nick Diaz is a tough kid. Nick Diaz doesn’t handle himself right all the time in public. I like him — I respect him as a fighter. I love his attitude. I love the way that kid fights. But you can’t do the stuff that this kid does in public. You can’t get into fights when the fight is over … you can’t do that stuff.”

I look for Diaz to sign somewhere, perhaps DREAM or World Victory Road.  He likes fighting in Japan and I think that is where he will go.  Until then I hope he works on his attitude because he is hard to like when he acts like a street thug.  He has a lot of issues such as: recreation drug use, attitude, and making weight.  Nevertheless, he will land somewhere and be just fine.

 

12.   Nick Thompson

Record: 36-10-1

Key Wins: Eddie Alvarez, Chris Wilson, Josh Neer

Key Losses: Jake Shields, Karo Parisyan, Yushin Okami, Ed Herman

MMABlog Ranking: #14 Ranked Welterweight

Thompson is a crafty veteran who has fought nearly everywhere.  Most people agree he is a top 20 welterweight in the world.  I am not sure about Thompson’s contract status, but I assume he was signed to a contract with ProElite.  Thompson has not fought since his loss to Jake Shieds.  “The Goat” has been around, including having gone 1-1 in the UFC.  I would not be shocked to see Thompson signed to fight in Japan somewhere.

 

13.   Dave Herman

Record: 10-0

Key Wins: Kerry Schall, Ron Waterman

Key Losses: None

MMABlog Ranking: #22 Ranked Heavyweight

Herman is another one of the spoils of EliteXC’s collapse and in my opinion is a top notch prospect.  I think he is a solid add.  I think the UFC would be a good fit, but he would need to be slowly built up.  He has great potential as a fighter, but please do something about that nickname (“Pee Wee”).  I would not be shocked to see him land in Strikeforce either, but UFC is a good place if he wants exposure and tough fights. 

 

14.   David Loiseau

Record: 18-8

Key Wins: Evan Tanner, Tony Fryklund, Joe Doerksen,

Key Losses: Joey Villasenor, Mike Swick, Rich Franklin, Jeremy Horn

MMABlog Ranking: NR

There is no question that the former number one contender, Canadian David Loiseau wants back in the UFC.  He is coming off of a win over Solomon Hutcherson and he hopes that earned him an offer, but he may need one more win.  I expect that he will be given one more chance in the UFC sometime in 2009.

 

15.   Brett Rogers

Record: 8-0

Key Wins: James Thompson, Jon Murphy

Key Losses: None

MMABlog Ranking: #24 Ranked Heavyweight

Rogers is a hard hitting prospect who was with the EliteXC.  Rogers looked very impressive in his KO win over Jon Murphy that aired on CBS’ debut card.  Rogers seemed to be unhappy that Kimbo Slice was getting the hype when he felt he deserved it, and he was probably right.  He has been untested, but he hits hard.  He has a place in a big time promotion.  I do not know if the UFC would gamble with him, but that is the best place for him.  Affliction may be a bad move because they would not have time to develop him like the UFC could.  I would love to see a TUF featuring hevayweights like Rogers, Herman and even Kimbo, but they don’t need TUF to get offers.

 

16.   Wilson Reis

Record: 6-0

Key Wins:

Key Losses:

MMABlog Ranking:

The EliteXC’s featherweight champ is sure to land a job.  I think that the best place for him would be in the talented pool of the WEC.  He could be a solid contender among some of the best featherweights.  Zuffa would be smart to pick him up.

 

17.   Benji Radach

Record: 19-4

Key Wins: Murilo Rua, Ryan McGivern

Key Losses: Chris Leben, Sean Sherk, Matt Horwich

MMABlog Ranking:

Radach is coming off of an impressive KO win over Murilo Rua at EliteXC’s last event.  He is sure to find a home somewhere.  He wanted back in the UFC, but they hinted that he needed one more fight somewhere else.  He could end up back in the UFC.  He is hard hitting and talented, but I think he may head to Affliction or Strikeforce, but don’t count out the UFC just yet.

 

18.   Bao Quach

Record: 15-8-1

Key Wins:

Key Losses: Waggney Fabiano

MMABlog Ranking:

Another solid featherweight who ought to head to the WEC.  The WEC moved out their light heavyweight and middleweight divisions to focus on the lighter classes and they need Quach. 

 

19.   Frank Shamrock

Record: 29-3-2

Key Wins:  Bas Rutten, Tito Ortiz, Jeremy Horn

Key Losses:  Bas Rutten (x2), Renzo Gacie, Cung Le

MMABlog Ranking:

Shamrock is in the same boat as Tito Ortiz.  Both guys are legends and both are popular, but both seem to be past their prime.  Ironically, both have feuds with Dana White.  The UFC is unlikely for Frank.  I think he is Affliction bound.  Anywhere he goes he will be a crowd attractor. 

 

20.   Scott Smith

Record: 13-5

Key Wins: Pete Sell

Key Losses: Robbie Lawler, Ed Herman, Patrick Cote, David Terrell, James Irvin

MMABlog Ranking:

Smith looked really good against Robbie Lawler, but his record does nto show many solid wins.  He is exciting and always puts on a show.  I like Scott Smith and think he is a good sign for someone, but likely it will not be UFC.  I think Strikeforce or even DREAM would be a good sign.

 

21.   K.J. Noons

Record: 7-2

Key Wins: Nick Diaz, Yves Edwards

Key Losses: Charles Bennett

MMABlog Ranking:

The much aligned EliteXC lightweight champ.  He refused to fight Nick Diaz again for the title and was stripped of his belt just before EliteXC’s collapse.  One may wonder if he was a one hit wonder.  He beat Nick Diaz, but I do not know if he can hang with top level guys.  He could do well in the WEC lightweight division.  I hear he may want a boxing career, but if he opts for MMA, the WEC would be a good move on his behalf.

 

22.   Paul Daley

Record:  18-7-2

Key Wins:  Duane Ludwig, Jess Liaudin

Key Losses: Jake Shields

MMABlog Ranking:

Daley in the Cage Rage champion and he is coming off of a loss to Jake Shields at EliteXC’s last event.  He could opt to go back to Cage Rage, which may still hang around despite ProElite’s fall.  However, he may look to go to a big stage like the UFC.  The UFC is trying hard to market the U.K. and what better way than a solid U.K. fighter like Paul Daley.  That is a good option.  Maybe he could do TUF 9.

 

23.   Robert Drysdale

Record: 0-0 (1-0 Amatuer)

Key Wins:

Key Losses:

MMABlog Ranking:

Drysdale is a pure prospect as well.  He is widely regarded as the best jiu jitsu guy in the world.  He trains and teaches at Xtreme Couture.  Drysdale recently made his move into MMA with a win on the amateur level.  He could be a big time fighter one day.  He has a long way to go still.  In a year he could be in the UFC, which would have to be the favorite to land him when he is ready.

 

24.   Andre Galvao

Record: 1-0

Key Wins:

Key Losses:

MMABlog Ranking:

Galvao is a prospect, not a star.  He is know for superior grappling and jiu jitsu skills.  He will be a great fighter in the likes of Demian Maia.  I do not know if he is ready for the big leagues yet, but the UFC ought to keep tabs on him as should the other organizations.  Within a year I look to see him on a big stage somewhere.

Others: Gina Carano, Kimbo Slice, Murilo “”Ninja” Rua, Phil Baroni, Jon Murphy, Ryan McGivern

MMABlog’s Light Heavyweight MMA Rankings

 

Here are my 205’ers.  The UFC clearly has the deepest and best pool of 205 lb fighters.  I only see a couple of non-UFC fighters being top 25 material. 

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Forrest Griffin

UFC

Evans (#6), 12/27

2

Quinton Jackson

UFC

W. Silva (#4) 12/27

3

Lyoto Machida

UFC

T. Silva (#10) 1/31

4

Wanderlei Silva

UFC

Jackson (#2) 12/27

5

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

UFC

Coleman (NR), 1/17

6

Rashad Evans

UFC

Griffin (#1), 12/27

7

Dan Henderson

UFC

Franklin (#12), 1/17

8

Keith Jardine

UFC

 

9

Chuck Liddell

UFC

 

10

Thiago Silva

UFC

Machida (#3), 1/31

11

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Affliction

Moisa (NR), 11/3

12

Rich Franklin

UFC

Henderson (#7), 1/17

13

Brandon Vera

UFC

 

14

Vladimir Matyushenko

Affliction

 

15

Luiz Cane

UFC

 

16

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

UFC

 

17

Ricardo Arona

 

 

18

Renato “Babalu” Sobral

Affliction

Southworth (NR), 11/21

19

Matt Hamill

UFC

Andy (NR), 12/27

20

Tito Ortiz

 

 

21

Rafael Feijao

EliteXC?

 

22

Steve Cantwell

UFC

Al-Hussan (NR), 12/10

23

Stephan Bonnar

UFC

Jones (NR), 1/31

24

James Irvin

UFC

 

25

Brian Stann

UFC

 

Also considered: Jon Jones, Tim Boetsch, Bobby Southworth, Mark Coleman (Didn’t include him because he hasn’t fought again.  He probably is top 25 material)

Best Non-UFC Fighters

Here are the best non-UFC fighters.  This shows where the UFC is stacked and where they lack.  There competition is mainly in Affliction at heavyweight and DREAM at lightweight.  Here are the best non-UFC guys that the UFC should look to sign if possible. 

Rank

Heavyweight

Light Heavy

Middleweight

Welterweight

Lightweight

1

Fedor Emelianenko

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Paulo Filho

Jake Shields

Takanori Gomi

2

Andrei Arlovski

Ricardo Arona

Matt Lindland

Carlos Condit

Shinya Aoki

3

Josh Barnett

Rafael Feijao

Robbie Lawler

Jay Hieron

JZ Calvancante

4

Tim Sylvia

Vladimir Matyushenko

Kazuo Misaki

Nick Thompson

Eddie Alvarez

5

Ben Rothwell

Babalu Sobral

Gegard Mousasi

Mach Sakurai

Mitsuhiro Ishida

6

Mirko Cro Cop

Tito Ortiz

Vitor Belfort

Mike Pyle

Joachim Hansen

7

Roy Nelson

Steve Cantwell

 “Jacare” de Sousa

 

Tatsuya Kawajiri

8

Aleks Emelianenko

Brian Stann

Jason Miller

 

Josh Thomson

9

Antonio Silva

 

Melvin Manhoef

 

Gilbert Melendez

10

Alistair Overeem

 

Murilio Rua

 

Vitor Ribeiro

11

 

 

Cung Le

 

Jamie Varner

12

 

 

Denis Kang

 

Ryan Schultz

13

 

 

Joey Villasenor

 

KJ Noons

14

 

 

Frank Shamrock

 

Nick Diaz

15

 

 

Yoshihiro Akiyama

 

Caol Uno

16

 

 

Jorge Santiago

 

 

17

 

 

Chael Sonnen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I Could…

Okay, let me play dreamer for a minute.  If I was employed by the UFC and I could sign 3 guys from each weight class, who would I sign…?

Heavyweight:

  • Fedor Emelianenko
  • Josh Barnett
  • Randy Couture

Also Considered: Roy Nelson, Brett Rogers, and Ben Rothwell

Light Heavyweight:

  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
  • Ricardo Arona
  • Valdimir Matyushenko

(Also Considered: Babalu and Brian Stann)

Middleweight:

  • Ronaldo “Jacare” de Souza
  • Paulo Filho
  • Robbie Lawler

Also Considered: Lindland and Jason “Mayhem” Miller

Welterweights:

  • Jay Hieron
  • Jake Shields
  • Carlos Condit

Also Considered: Hayato Sakurai and Nick Thompson

Lightweights

  • Takanori Gomi
  • Gilbert Melendez
  • Gesias Calvancante

Also Considered: Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki and Urijah Faber if he would move up

Who Benefited Most From PRIDE’s Collapse?

When PRIDE fell they were clearly the biggest competitors with the UFC, having many of MMA’s top guys.  They had some big time stars. Then PRIDE got into trouble and was bought by Zuffa.  So who benefited the most from PRIDE’s deminse?  There was a mad scramble to sign those guys who were now unemployed. I have been critical of the UFC’s ability to sign top PRIDE guys like Fedor, Gomi, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Arona, Kang, Mousasi, Melendez, etc. However, it looks like the UFC has done great due to PRIDE’s fall.  I ranked the PRIDE guys at the time of their collapse in order of who I would want to sign and the UFC benefited from it.  Now, the guys they have signed haven;t had huge success, but they are popular and will win eventually.  Can you imagine the UFC heavyweight divison without the influx of Nogueira, Werdum, and Herring???  The light heavyweight divison also was greatly boosted with the signings of Shogun, Wanderlei, Dan Henderson, Nakamura, and Sokoudjou.  UFC just struggles to get the lightweights. UFC signed 13 of those guys I listed and they have faired well, this doesn’t even include other guys who came in before the fall of PRIDE like “Rampage” Jackson.  Out of those guys you have some stars now in the UFC, some guys that can draw a crowd and one of them owns the belt (Nogueira).  DREAM and Affliction seemed to clean up what UFC couldn’t sign.  DREAM picked up the ligtweights, signing 8 of those PRIDE guys.  Affliction has a few signings.  So while I am critical of the UFC, let us give Dana and the UFC brass some credit for signing many of the top PRIDE guys.  I still would like to see the best of the best in one place, but it won’t happen, so this puts things into perspective and the UFC did good and benefited the most from PRIDE’s fall.

 

Name

Fight Organization Signed With

Fedor Emelianenko

Affliction

Wanderlei Silva

UFC

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

UFC

Mirko Cro Cop

UFC (DREAM)

Takanori Gomi

World Victory Road

Dan Henderson

UFC

Josh Barnett

Affliction

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

UFC

Paulo Filho

WEC

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

HCF

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

UFC

Ricardo Arona

 

Gilbert Melendez

Strikeforce

Fabricio Werdum

UFC

Gegard Mousasi

DREAM

Denis Kang

DREAM

Aleksander Emelianenko

Affliction

Marcus Aurelio

UFC

Akihiro Gono

UFC

Kauo Misaki

DREAM

Ricardo Almeida

UFC

Heath Herring

UFC

Joachim Hansen

DREAM

Ryo Chonan

UFC

Kazuhiro Nakamura

UFC

Tatsuya Kawajiri

DREAM

Mitsuhiro Ishida

DREAM

Alistair Overeem

Strikeforce

Kevin Randleman

 

Phil Baroni

EliteXC

Hayato “Mach” Sakurai

DREAM

Murilio Bustamante

 

Murilo “Ninja” Rua

EliteXC

Any Chance of the UFC Signing…

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira –  The UFC signing his brother with too similar of a name.  Rogerio the smaller of the Nogs is a quality fighter.  Again, PRIDE guys haven’t faired well in the UFC, but little Nog is no push over.  He is a top five lightheavyweight any way you look at it.  I would say the strike against him is that the UFC is already stacked at lightheavyweight.  In his favor his brother is fighting for the UFC and that might help his chances some.  I’d like to see a focus put on singing him.  I haven’t heard much chatter about it either way.  Anyone else have any scoop?

Ricardo Arona

At one time it was reported UFC signed Arona, but I guess it fell through.  I still look for him to be signed and contend wherever he goes. 

Josh Barnett

Chances are slim to none.  He is too good to let slip by though in my opinion.  If UFC wants to be the best it needs to have the best fighters and in order for their Heavyweight divison to be the best the need to sign Barnett and Fedor and work things out with Randy yesterday.  Barnett and Dana have issues so it won’t happen. 

Matt Lindland

Again, Dana has some issues with Lindland, and Dana has been known to be slightly stubborn.  he could care less about signing Lindland.  I guess there has been some chats though about getting him.  I think with the weak middleweight divison Dana is going to be pressed to sign someone to contend.  It very well may be Matt Lindland.  I’m glad to see Jeremy Horn step in for the Marquardt fight, he is a quality add, but not a Matt Lindland quality. 

Paulo Filho

I never had considered Dana White’s stubborness a good thing, however if he is too stubborn to sign Lindland he very well could out of pure stubborness go and sign Filho.  Filho is unquestionably the number 2 middleweight, but will never likely fight Anderson Silva because of their friendship.  The only reason Filho would move to the UFC would be to get the belt.  Perhaps if Henderson wins we could see Filho.  I still think Matt Lindland stands a better chance.

Gilbert Melendez

Gilbert was considered one of the best lightweights until his recent loss to Ishida.  He still is a top 5-10 guy.  I’d like to see him against top tier UFC talent.  His recent loss could provoke a move to UFC.  I wouldn’t rule it out, but I wouldn’t bank on it.  I think Melendez likes fighting the lesser talent and winning most of the time.

Jake Shields

He has said he would like to fight for the UFC, but he holds the EliteXC title.  He could come, but I think he just signed an extension with EliteXC. Dana never has done great with the Diaz Brothers so perhaps their friendship to Jake will hurt this.  I don’t rule out Nick being back though.  Perhaps Nick Diaz and Jake Shields would be a package deal as well as their bud Gilbert Melendez. 

Takanori Gomi

I think there is a good chance we will see Gomi.  Perhaps the most likely of all these guys to land in the UFC and the most likely to get Dana’s respect and the big bucks.

 Other guys who may be on the radar: Vitor Belfort, Denis Kang, Nick Diaz, Robbie Lawler