This MMA Life

Louis
Louis

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Non-UFC fighters I am keeping an eye on.

Everyone knows the pinnacle of making it as a fighter is to be fighting in the UFC, it's the company that does it bigger and better than anyone else, they have overall the best fighters which in return produces usually the best fights, now just because certain fighters aren't in the UFC promotion, it does not for a second mean they couldn't cut the mustard, here are fighters from each men's division I believe we could see in the UFC, also who could thrive in the biggest and best organization in the MMA world.

Flyweight division - JARRED BROOKS (19-2-1NC)
Promotion - ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

If your a hardcore UFC fan you would have maybe recognized Jarred's name before, well that's because he had a short stint in the UFC back in 2017, on his debut he faced TUF 24 semi-finalist Eric Shelton, a fight which he won by split decision, just 3 months after this fight he had his second fight in the UFC against now flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo, Brooks lost this fight via split decision, but it was very close and had some controversy surrounding the outcome, onto his third fight he had a short notice opponent change and was now facing Jose Torres, Brooks unfortunately lost that fight due to a slam, the weird part about this was he was the one that slammed Torres, but he bizarrely knocked himself out in the process (due to Torres kind of reversing the slam), if you haven't seen it I suggest you check it out, crazy stuff. In his final fight Brooks stepped in late notice to fight Roberto Sanchez at UFC 228, he won that fight via split decision, but just like that 2 months later he was released from the UFC. Not long after his release Brooks was then grabbed up out of free agency by the company RIZIN for a short period, he then went around fighting with many other MMA organizations, he currently (since 2021) is at ONE CHAMPIONSHIP, where he is currently striving and arguably at his peak, he's been 6-0-1 since he left UFC, he's currently fighting at strawweight and his next fight looks to be for a title in ONE CHAMPIONSHIP for the strawweight strap. As mentioned above the fact he has gone toe to toe against the current UFC Flyweight champ, says to me he can compete with the UFC's best, he's gotten a lot better since his early UFC days, plus some fresh blood in that division wouldn't go a miss.

Bantamweight division - Sergio Pettis (22-5)
Promotion - BELLATOR

Now similar to Brooks (up above) Sergio has had a mediocre journey in the UFC 9-5 (UFC), he fought some top competition in his UFC journey too, beating the likes of Brandon Moreno and Joseph Benavidez, he also fought Rob font and Henry Cejudo which he lost both of them via unanimous decision, but since leaving UFC for BELLATOR he's currently on a 4 fight winning streak and looks like a more improved fighter than we saw in UFC, oh did I forget he's the bellator featherweight champion, a great career so far and he's only 28, pretty dam impressive. Bellator aren't just going to hand over there champion without a fight I know that, but I do hope we see him return to the big stage that is UFC one day.

Featherweight division - AJ Mckee (18-1)
Promotion - BELLATOR

If you've never seen the "mercenary" Mckee fight I strongly suggest you go watch him, 13 finishes in his 18 wins should say all you need to know about this guy being a natural finisher and entertainer. To get this belt he had to win the bellator featherweight world gran prix, which in truth he made look ridiculously easy, his first fight in this tournament he won in 8 seconds in the very first round via TKO, in the quarter finals he managed to pull off a slick armbar submission to earn a win in round 3, now onto the semi finals he won via a nasty head crank submission coming in at round 1 again, now for the finals he was up against the animal that is Patrício Pitbull, similar to Mckee Pitbull ran through most of his opponents in this tournament which set this final up very nicely, on the night though it was Aj Mckee that secured a guillotine choke submission win in the very first round, talk about keeping up appearances with those submissions and ending the fights early! The fight was then rematched the next year and Pitbull got the win via unanimous decision, so like most I'm expecting to see a trilogy match between these too, hopefully we get to see AJ in the UFC one day as the young man only being 27 years old has a tonne of potential in him.

Lightweight division - roberto de souza (14-1)
Promotion - RIZIN

Being a hardcore fan myself I wouldn't blame you if you haven't heard of this guy before, again do yourself a favor and watch just the highlights alone, this man is a monster, he has great cardio, good stand up, but this guys ground and pound mixed with his jujitsu is on a different level, almost has that Khabib and Oliveira feel to him. He's Rizin's lightweight champion with a couple of title defenses, in his 14 wins they all come of finishes, 10 submissions 4 KO/TKO's, like I say dude can finish a fight! Lets hope we get to see him in the UFC one day, he is currently 32 years old due to be 33 in a month or so, so no time to waste.

Welterweight division - Yaroslav Amosov (26-0)
promotion - BELLATOR

Lets call a square a square, this one probably has sparked your interest massively with that shiny record, so it should! 10 submissions, 9 KO/TKO's in his 26 wins is not bad going at all! as well as his fancy MMA record he has had a great sambo career also, World Combat Sambo Championship Gold Medalist in 2014 at 82kg, Combat Jiu-Jitsu World Championship Gold Medalist in 2014 at 84kg, Combat Sambo Eurasia Championship Gold Medalist in 2014 at 82kg, just some examples for you. He is currently Bellator's welterweight champion, now lets talk fighting style, I'm sure from the sambo you've figured it out, yes once this guy gets a hold of you, its pretty much game over, such an exceptional style that no one has figured out yet, I believe this guy will be their champion for a good while, 28 years of age this man has already had a great career, but considering his age we could really be looking at the next best thing in this sport, lets all eagerly wait in anticipation to see if a move to the UFC is ever a option, side note him vs Usman is already such an intriguing match up.

Middleweight division - Roberto Soldic (20-3)
Promotion - ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

I believe Roberto "Robocop" Soldic is todays Mirko Cro Cop, sure they are both Croatian, but that isn't the exact comparison I'm talking about, I'm talking about the fighting style, the fear both of them put into their opponent's, before ruthlessly kicking or punching their oppositions head into row z of an arena, even Dan Hardy back in 2017 compared the two (Cro Cop and Soldic) when Soldic won at cage warriors 87, he stated "I said Cro Cop right away because it was that kick. It was just that, a patient fighter who gets his opponents to that point. Right after the match he jumped on the cage, he looked at me and started yelling that he will be the champ and I believe him. I can't wait to see his progress, he's incredibly exciting, said Hardy.". Soldic has fought all over the world in different MMA organizations, but its at the KSW promotion where he has been gaining his notoriety, in this origination he was a double champion holding both welterweight and middleweight straps, I used the word "was" in that last sentence because he has recently been in the free agency pool, but has now signed for one championship, now maybe your asking yourselves "well why didn't UFC try to sign him?", to answer that simply...they did try, how hard is unknown. Soldic recently did a interview on Ariel Helwani's "MMA HOUR" to break the news that he has signed with one championship, then when asked about the UFC the 27-year-old Croatian revealed that he did receive an offer from the UFC, but it was something he deemed to be "nothing serious.", he seems very keen and ready to start a huge legacy at one championship stating, "I chose One because it’s the biggest martial arts promotion in the world," "They give me opportunity to take all the belts: kickboxing world champion, muay Thai world champion, MMA world champion, also boxing world champion. So this makes me something new. I want to create something for my people, for my own legacy. So I chose One for sure.". The confidence is clearly there and so it should be, 17 KO/TKO's in 20 victories its easy to see why he's compared to the legend Cro Cop, but if Soldic goes out and does what he says he's going to set out at one championship, then he will become a legend in his own right, watch this space with this lad.

Light heavyweight division - Anthony Johnson (23-6)
Promotion - BELLATOR

Definitely a name you all should recognize, Anthony "Rumble" Johnson, this man is the one on the list that I shouldn't need to say much on, as he had the best UFC career on this list, fighting for titles as such, to think this guy was once a middleweight in the UFC is insane, its even more insane if you watch him flatline big light heavyweights with his natural one punch power. Since "Rumble" went to the big boy divisions that is light heavyweight and heavyweight, his record is an astonishing (12-2), only losing both times to Daniel Cormier, who you can argue is one of the greatest of all time, so no shame in that what so ever. Johnson surprisingly decided to retire from the sport and the UFC in 2017 after his last fight with Cormier, in 2019 he decided that he wanted to compete once again for the UFC, the fans and myself alike were excited for this as we all felt he had so much more to offer in his MMA career, now for whatever reasons Johnson and UFC parted ways in late 2020, so that dream return didn't come into play and that is when he started his career as a Bellator fighter, Johnson on his first fight for the company was meant to be against one of the scariest dudes this MMA world has seen in Yoel Romero, this was set to be in the quarter finals of the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Tournament, but unfortunately we had to chalk that fight as a "what if" as Yoel failed his pre fight medical, Jose Augusto then stepped up to take Yoel's position in this tournament, despite getting dropped in the first round by Augusto, Johnson showed us he still carried that devastating power, claiming a KO finish in round 2. In the semi-finals of the Grand Prix, Johnson was scheduled to face the champion Vadim Nemkov (who almost made my ones to watch list instead of Johnson), but unfortunately Johnson pulled out due to an unknown illness. We are hopefully going to see "Rumble" back in action at some point this year, as mentioned above I like most feel he still definitely has a lot to offer, if I'm being honest I think he could walk back into the UFC right now and cause current light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka a whole lot of problems, time will tell I guess.

Unfortunately I think UFC has all the best heavyweights and no other heavyweight outside of this origination has caught my eye, I know Bader is doing really well in Bellator but I still think he would struggle with most of the top ten of the heavyweights within the UFC, so for that reason I will not insert any heavyweights on my ones to watch list. As always I hope you enjoyed the read, until next time, peace.

Top comments (5)

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lee profile image
Lee

Ref Roberto Soldic mate, just listening to him now talking about why he signed for One FC. He says:

  • All UFC fighters lose in One FC
  • One FC is the worlds biggest martial arts promotion
  • One FC have offered him the opportunity to take titles in Muay Thai, MMA, BJJ
  • They offered him the most money (UFC didn't make a series offer).

It's an interesting listen - Roberto Soldic around (1:29:14)

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lee profile image
Lee

even Dan Hardy back in 2017 compared the two (Cro Cop and Soldic) when Soldic won at cage warriors 87, he stated "I said Cro Cop right away because it was that kick. It was just that, a patient fighter who gets his opponents to that point. Right after the match he jumped on the cage, he looked at me and started yelling that he will be the champ and I believe him. I can't wait to see his progress, he's incredibly exciting, said Hardy.".

😀 I remember this

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joe_mmahive profile image
Joe (MMA Hive)

So good, Louis!

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louisingro profile image
Louis Author

My guy appreciate it Joe 🤜🏻🤛🏻

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lee profile image
Lee

If you've never seen the "mercenary" Mckee fight I strongly suggest you go watch him, 13 finishes in his 18 wins should say all you need to know about this guy being a natural finisher and entertainer.

I'd love to see McKee fight in the UFC - he openly expressed his desire to do so on his last appearance on the The MMA Hour.

I love this post, I am going to do more research on Yaroslav Amosov - what a record that is. Why haven't the UFC picked up Amosov yet?