The Ultimate Fighting Championship is the most recognized organization when it comes to mixed martial arts. It has some competition with organizations like Strikeforce, Bellator and DREAM, but the UFC is looked at as the major leagues—the “big show” if you will.
With so many fighters around the world, it is nearly impossible for the UFC to have the top guys at every division on their roster. The program took a step forward when folding sister promotion World Extreme Cagefighting’s lighter weight classes into the UFC. It added a new stable of dynamic, world-class fighters.
However, there are still some big names out there who should be in the top organization.
10. Fabricio Werdum
Fabricio Werdum has had a previous stint in the UFC, which did not go as planned. However, since being let go by the promotion, Werdum has gone 3-0, including a miraculous first-round submission victory over former pound-for-pound king, Fedor Emelianenko. This was the first legitimate loss of Fedor’s career.
Werdum has done everything in his power to earn his way back to the big show. His win against Fedor alone should be enough to get him back into the UFC.
With the UFC’s heavyweight division getting more exciting and competitive by the day, signing a guy like Werdum would add another challenger to the mix
9. Alistair Overeem
Alistair Overeem is the Strikeforce heavyweight champion. He has not suffered a loss since 2007, but really has not been tested, either.
Overeem dabbles in K-1 as well, so Dana White may be hesitant to sign him. He likes to lock his fighters up to exclusive deals, which would likely kill any chance of signing “Ubereem.”
The Strikeforce champ has not been given many fights during his reign, so he would welcome a new challenge. He would create some exciting matchups in the UFC, if this dream signing were to happen
8. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
“Jacare” is another Strikeforce champion. He defeated Tim Kennedy for the belt that was left vacant when former champion Jake Shields bolted for the UFC. Jacare is one of the greatest jiu jitsu practioners of all time, and would add to the UFC’s middleweight division which is starving for new contenders.
The Brazilian jiu jitsu and judo blackbelt earned 10 of his 13 wins via submission, and he holds victories over UFC veterans Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Matt Lindland.
With the expansion of lighter weight classes into the UFC, they should make a splash in the international market by signing Japan’s top 145-pounder, Michihiro Omigawa.
Omigawa has reeled off five straight wins and would be highly marketable in the foreign market. Omigawa has star power, and could help the organization’s Asian expansion that it so desperately seeks.
The Japanese star holds wins in his career over the likes of Micah Miller, LC Davis, TUF alulm Nam Phan, Cole Escovedo, Jason Chambers and Jose Aldo’s teammate, Marlon Sandro.
There is no doubt that Omigawa would hang with the featherweights in the UFC. In fact, he was sought after by the WEC, so his signing could be one of the first moves Dana White makes.
6. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante
Yes, you guessed it! Another Strikeforce champion.
Rafael Feijao recently earned the Strikeforce light-heavyweight championship after his destruction of Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal. It was his third straight victory.
Feijao, who trains at the famed Black House gym, is incredibly well-rounded and would be a nightmare matchup for many of the UFC’s 205-pounders. In his 10 career wins, he has never gone to decision.
5. Hector Lombard
The Cuban-born Lombard has been disposing his opponents since 2006, when he suffered his last loss. Lombard is a black belt in judo and Brazilian jiu jitsu, who holds 15 wins by knockout and six wins via submission.
Lombard trains with an exceptional camp down at American Top Team, and he serves as the current Bellator middleweight champion.
Level of competition has been the biggest criticism for Lombard, but he has worked his way to the top of the middleweight rankings. If anyone deserves a shot at the UFC, it is Lombard.
4. Nick Diaz
Diaz is one of the most exciting and well-rounded fighters in the sport. You will often find his name mentioned among the sports pound-for-pound best.
He recently held on to his Strikeforce welterweight championship after beating KJ Noons via unanimous decision. He has also disposed of DREAM welterweight grand prix champion Marius Zaromskis and MMA legend Mach Sakurai in the past year.
Diaz is a controversial fighter and the UFC may shy away from him due to his past, but if he can stay away from the pipe he should be added to the organization’s roster.
3. Eddie Alvarez
Eddie Alvarez has been throwing down his claim at being the top-ranked lightweight in the world. In his last two fights, the Bellator champion disposed of former UFC lightweights Josh Neer and Roger Huerta in impressive fashion.
Alvarez has some of the best hands in his weight class, which has led to his 12 wins via knockout. Don’t sleep on his ground game, either, because he has notched seven wins by way of submission.
There are some intriguing matchups for Alvarez in the UFC. Guys like Takanori Gomi and Frankie Edgar immediately come to mind as guys who would on paper make for some sure fireworks against the Philadelphia native, Alvarez.
2. Fedor Emelianenko
Despite dropping his last bout, Fedor remains one of the most popular fighters among hardcore MMA fans. You cannot forget the wars that Fedor has been through, which have helped cement his place among the best heavyweights in MMA history.
Everyone gets caught, and that may have been the case for Emelianenko against Werdum.
Teammate of Nick Diaz, Jake Shields and Nate Diaz, Gilbert Melendez is one of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in mixed martial arts. The Strikeforce champion has thrown his name in the mix of top 155-pounders in the world, and in my opinion he is the best lightweight around.
Melendez holds victories over UFC fan-favorite Clay Guida, Rodrigo Damm, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Josh Thomson and Shinya Aoki. The only two losses of Melendez’s career were to Ishida and Thomson, but Melendez came back to avenge those losses and show how mentally strong he is.
He trains at one of the best camps in the country, and brings his wrestling skills and Brazilian jiu jitsu brown belt with him to the cage.
Aside from being the Strikeforce lightweight champion, Melendez also held the WEC’s lightweight championship at one point. The same WEC that has folded into the UFC.
If there is one guy I would like to see test his skills in the UFC, it is Melendez. The 155-pound division lacks contenders with star power, but “El Nino” is just that.