These ten guys have nothing left to prove in the smaller shows. Sure, they could rack up wins against lesser talent, but these guys are ready to be signed by one of the big three promotions (UFC, Strikeforce or Bellator). Some of them may have contractual obligations with other promotions and some of them may prefer to fight overseas, but it is fruitless for them. These guys are ready right now to test themselves agaisnt the world’s best.
10. Mamed Khalidov – Rumor has it he has been in talks with Bellator, but has some religious reservation to fighting at certain times. Khalidov is a proven fighter who destroyed Matt Lindland recently at KSW.
9. Stipe Miocic – 6-0 – Perhaps the best heavyweight prospect out there. Miocic has real potential. He could be a UFC contender. He needs to sign with them. Keep an eye on this guy…really. Miocic has powerful striking and high level wrestling to bring to the table. He was an all-american wrestler in High School and wrestled at Cleveland State in College. He is more known for his stand up than his ground game though. Stipe has finished all his fights by TKO.
8. Marcos Rogerio de Lima – 8-0 – He beat Paulo Filho when that meant something. He is a legit prospect who needs to be signed yesterday. This Brazilian prospect has potential at 205, but perhaps his future lies in the middleweight division. He is not ready for the elite yet, but he could make an impact if brought along at the right speed.
7. Jimi Manuwa – 9-0 -He has had an injury hold him up for a while, but he should be ready to go soon and with one more win Manuwa needs to head stateside. In reality there are not many more fights in England for the heavy handed light heavyweight fighter. In my opinion, he is the best fighter in the U.K. right now.
6. Papy Abedi – 8-0 – He is perhaps the top middleweight prospect. I think he has tons of potential. He has solid grappling and striking. I would be surprised not to see him in the UFC soon. The Swedish fighter has a Judo background and could be one win (or less) away from the UFC. Apparently, the UFC has contacted him in the past and the deal has just never worked out. He is the top Swedish fighter.
5. Vyacheslav Vasilevsky – 15-1 – This guy is on a tear as well. I do not think he can hang with the elite 205’s, but if he would fight at 185 he could be a force. I’d like to see him join Bellator.
4. Glover Teixiera – 12-2 – He has had some visa issues that he says will soon be resolved. Glover has several upcoming fights in Brazil and wants to be in the UFC be year’s end. I think that is very possible if he can fix his visa issues. Glover had previously trained in the U.S. as a sparring partner to Chuck Liddell at the Pit. Glover deserves a shot in the UFC.
3. Alexander Sarnavskiy – The dude is 14-0. I have serious questions about M-1 Global’s managment. They need to get this guy in UFC, Strikeforce or Bellator. It is time he test himself against the world’s best.
2. Tom Watson – 14-4 Tom Watson looked impressive against Murilo Rua. He has nothing left on the U.K. circuit. He often trains in the US at Jackson’s MMA. I like Watson a lot. I think he has proven himself and the win over Rua further validated him as a “UFC caliber” fighter. He may still have fights on his contract with BAMMA, but fighting in the U.K. is a waste of his time. In addition to a win over Rua, Watson boasts wins over Matt Horwich, Alex Reid, Travis Galbraith and John Maguire.
1. Siyar Bahadurzada – 20-4-1 – Siyar had once been signed to Strikeforce, but that looks like is fell apart. Since that time he captured the United Glory Welterweight title in impressive fashion. Siyar is explosive and talented. I think he is the best unsigned welterweight right now. There is no purpose in him staying around smaller promotions and fighting. He needs to be in a big organziation fighting the world’s best.