Fans have always been interested in seeing heavyweights fight, the one problem is that there is a lack of talent in that division in comparison to other divisions. It is not easy finding world class, quality big fighters. Not only that, but Zuffa has a good lockdown on the majority of the heavyweights. However, there are a few guys with some upside that would be worth it for the UFC to take a look at.
1. Soa Palelei – My guess is that the “Hulk” will find his way back to the UFC. He may be the besy heavyweight not currently under contract to a major promotion. I don’t think Soa can contend for a title, but he can knock some folks out. He has a great chance of signing sooner than later due to the UFC’s interest in Australia. He also has some hype behind him and a serious Twitter army. He has gone 9-1 since his 0-1 stint in the UFC. Perhaps his time has come.
2. Jan Jorgensen – Jorgensen just picked up a win this past weekend in Utah and he is ready for the big show. He is 5-0 with all finishes. He is a former BYU football player who now trains at the Pit Elevated (a gym with UFC ties). I can’t imagine Jorgsensen getting many more fights before the UFC comes calling. Also, Jan has the highest upside out of anyone on this list.
3. Tony Johnson, Jr. – He has solid potential. He has a good wrestling base. His only loss came to Daniel Cormier. I have heard rumbling of him being Josh Barnett’s opponent in Strikeforce.
4. Tyler East – He has won 9 in a row. I am not sure if he can hang with the elites, but he has some skills. Had it not been for some personal troubles, he may have already been in the UFC. With a shallow pool of talent, East would make sense for the UFC or Bellator.
5. Mike Hackert – He beats multiple time UFC veteran Tim Hague in impressive fashion at the last MFC card. Hackert is probably locked down with the MFC for a while, but he is Canada’s top heavyweight for sure.
6. Levan Razmade – I am not sure how much on the UFC’s radar Levan is, but he is 5-0 and has made a name for himself in DEEP. He hasn’t fought top talent yet, but I think he is worth a look.
7. Derrick Lewis – There is no way Lewis would have been on this list if it were not for his KO of Jared Rosholt. Lewis needs to work on his takedown defense and ground game, but he has the power to hang with anyone at heavyweight. His Rosholt win certainly got him some atttention.
8. Chris Birchler – I had been very high on Birchler. Yes, he is undefeated, but his last win was unimpressive. In fact, he had to be carried off in a stretcher due to exhaustion. Birchler is a work in progress. I don’t think he is ready for the big dogs yet.
9. Stav Economou – Stav has an impressive record at 13-2 and his only losses have come to UFC fighters Phil DeFries and Karlos Vemola. If he wants to get into the UFC he need to fight better than novelty fights. His last two wins are over Ricco Rodriguez and Bob Sapp. A solid win could get him a big show deal.
10. Alexander Volkov – A very light fighter for the heavyweight division, Volkov has still managed an impressive record of 16-3, including a seven fight winning streak. Volkov may be able to make 2015, but he is also very tall. I would expect him to fit the Bellator mold nicely if they come calling.