As a fan it is always exciting to see the UFC add a big name fighter to their roster. There are only a few elite fighters outside the UFC, but the UFC may be on the verge of picking up two of those guys.
One is current Strikeforce Middleweight and former EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields. His move to the UFC seems like a lock and it makes sense for him. Shields, a natural welterweight has very few potential opponents at 170 outside the UFC. He wants to fight St. Pierre. He wants to fight Anderson Silva. I don’t know the details of his expiring contract with Strikeforce, but look for in the very near future for Shields to sign with the UFC and I expect a debut by the end of the year. I’d like to see Shields vs. the Fitch/Alves winner face off against the St. Pierre vs. Koscheck winner. Shields is an elite fighter who will bring a huge name recognition to the UFC.
The other guy is Ricardo Arona. Maybes the casual fan isn’t familiar with Arona, but Arona was a star in PRIDE. Arona holds wins over Wanderlei Silva, Alistair Overeem, Kazushi Sakuraba, Dan Henderson, “Ninja” Rua and Guy Mezger. That is quite an impressive resume.
Arona met with UFC president Dana White on Saturday following UFC 114 and had a good talk with the UFC head man.
It was better than I expected… [Dana White] said he was really glad to see me here, asked about my last fight, where it was, how it was and I told him and also said I wanted an opportunity to rejoin the [UFC] on the end of the year, a chance to be here and he said he wanted me on his event, that I have a space for me here on his event and that he only had to talk to his manager and then we would set things up. He said the doors were opened to me, but he would have to consult first his manager. It was much better than I expected, he was really honest and friendly, so it’s enough for me to come back to the hard trainings with an extra energy.
It’s more than happiness, it’s a motivation for all my trainings from today on. That’s what I needed to hear. He said we have to keep in touch, so I just have to follow these steps to come closer to the treasure.
First I have to worry about my knee recover and I said to him it would be a good thing for me to do a comeback on the end of the year and he said it’d be ok. He told me to take care of my knee while he consults his manager. He was very friendly and honest and so was I and now what I have to do is to keep in touch with him and I’m much closer than I expected.
Arona, who is recovering from a knee injury is targeting a fight by the end of the year and it very well could be inside the UFC’s octagon. There are tons of potential fights for Arona. A re-match with “Rampage” tops the list. I expect Arona to ink with the UFC soon and fight in December, probably getting a tune-up fight.
Anyway you look at it the fans win with these two guys. Neither has a super exciting style, but they are elite fighters. The could make two very deep and talented divisions in the UFC even deeper, in fact count on it.