The bantamweight division is stocked with up and coming talent. In fact, we found it difficult to narrow down our list to 10 prospects. We are very pleased with the top 10 in this division. If you forced me to sign one of those guys to the UFC today, I would sign Aljamain Sterling. However, I would guess that Pedro Munhoz, Thomas Almeida and Michinori Tanaka are on the brink of UFC offers. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Jumabieke in the UFC sooner than later.
There are 3 or 4 guys that we left off the top ten who one could make an argument for their inclusion.
1. James Brum – perhaps the best bantamweight prospect in Europe. Brum was a guy I struggled to not include in our top 10. A 14-2 career mark which boasts an 8 fight win streak should be garnering big time attention. At 26 years of age, Brum’s best days are yet to come. Brum declares, “I am taking the Cage Warriors Bantamweight Title in 2014. I am the number 1 unsigned prospect in the bantamweight division in Europe. I have cemented this position by beating the best Europe has to offer and ow I’m looking to prove I am one of the best 135ers in the world”
2. Brett Johns – The Cage Warriors bantamweight champion has a promising future himself. A 9-0 career mark en route to the Cage a Warriors title. Johns is just 21 years old. Fighting out of Wales, he trains at the Chris Rees academy and dragon school of combat! He is a black belt in judo and a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Recovering from an injury Johns is hoping for a fight in March 2014. Nicknamed “the Pikey”. Johns is a real prospect to keep your eyes on.
3. Luis Rafael – Rafael is 24-0. He didn’t make the list because he has done so against sub par competition. Nevertheless, such a record deserves some attention. I would guess he will find willing suitors soon. He trains with a very good gym in Renovavao and at just 21 years old he has a bright future, but we want to see him against better competition.
4. Jonas Speed – at only 23 year old Bilharinho is one of the top prospects in Brazil. He has a 4-0 record which has highlighted excellent striking skills.
5. Tyler Shinn – Shinn may have made the list, but just prior to compiling the list we learned of his intent to drop down to the flyweight division. He is one to watch there for sure. In fact, we believe he can be a world class flyweight.