I am certain the UFC will sign more than 5 guys before the end of the year. However, I look for these 5 notable fighters to be in the UFC in 2012.
1. Eddie Alvarez
It seems nearly inevitable that Alvarez will move to the UFC. Eddie has one fight left on his Bellator contract and he will apparently fulfill that fight this summer. I would expect that he will make his UFC debut sometime in 2012.
2. Mamed Khalidov
Mamed Khalidov is the best middleweight not signed to a major promotion. Khalidov is a little bit of a tricky situation. He currently fight for the Polish promotion, KSW and is managed by them as well. He is a huge star in Poland and he makes big money there. In fact, he probably makes more money fighting for KSW than he would in the UFC. He has stated his desire to fight for the UFC. Currently, Khalidov has a offer on the table from the UFC as well. The word on the street is that the offer is not spectacular. So, it is very possible that Khalidov will elect to stay with KSW rather than take a financial hit to sign with the world’s premiere promotion. Either way, we should know if he is UFC bound in a week or so.
3. Tom Watson
I am really not sure why Watson is not signed by a big promotion. Watson is always improving and is a solid fighter. I don’t know if he has top ten type of talent, but he certainly could be a force in the UFC’s middleweight division. I would not be shocked to see him signed to fight on the UFC in Nottingham card in September.
4. Jake Rosholt
Rosholt came into MMA with tons of hype and he was thrown to the wolves once he went to the UFC. Rosholt is much improved and I believe he is now ready to shine. He has a fight coming up and should he win there (which he should), I would be shocked if he does not get another shot in the UFC. He deserves it and he could beat half the UFC middleweight right now.
5. Bibiano Fernandes
I don’t know what Bibiano’s contract status is with DREAM. I have heard several things. One thing is that Fernandes has one more fight on his DREAM contract. DREAM plans a show in July, but nothing has been made official about that. I would expect Bibiano to fight one more time for DREAM and then hit the free agent market where UFC would be the obvious leader for his services, though Bellator could be possible.