The featherweight division is among the deepest talent pools in terms of up coming prospects. There are many guys that the UFC and Bellator could look at and sign. Here are the top 5…
1. Tom Niinimaki – Niinimaki is the guy that perhaps most people are surprised is not in the UFC yet. I also believe he will be there soon. He has some hype from the hardcore fans, especially the Scandanavians. He is a top level fighter who could do very well in the UFC and he is ready. If the UFC will not take him, I would bet that Bellator surely would.
2. Chris Gruetzemacher – “Gritz” is another guy that is surprisingly not in the big show yet. He is a training partner of UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and he has proven himself on the regiomal scene. He needs a step up in competition. What better place for that than in the UFC or even in Bellator’s tournament. I would be surprised if he isn’t in one or the other soon.
3. Chas Skelly – A Team Takedown fighter, who has a very impressive resume. He has two wins over UFC fighter Daniel Pineda and has appeared twice under the Bellator banner, which makes that a logical move. Skelly fights on July 28th and win may get him in a big promotion.
4. Lance Palmer – Lance Palmer has the most upside of any featherweight prospect in the world. He has elite wrestling credentials. He trains at Team Alpha Male and he has looked good in his few fights. He will fight again in the begining of August and then he will probably fight under the RFA banner. However, Palmer is destined for the UFC. I think he could hang in there right now. A few more wins under his belt and it will be a reality.
5. Guan Wang – I do not know if Wang is the fifth best featherweight available, but I would expect him to have a special appeal since the UFC will be headed to Macau, China in November. He would certainly have to be on their radar. So do not be surprised if the UFC snatches him up.
Others: Brandon Bender, Doo Ho Choi, and Anthony Gutierrez, Dustin Kimura and Georgi Karakhanyan