Financial resources are going to be a considerable element when acquiring free agents for the UFC during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Dana White has never been one to become stagnant when growing the UFC. Fighter’s contracts have always been this mysterious artifact that rarely end up visible to the public. So it becomes very difficult to gauge which athletes are available on the free-agent market. Nonetheless, we are going to operate under the assumption that these fighters are able to make their Octagon debuts. Here are 5 fighters the UFC needs to sign.
Absolute Championship Akhmat or ACA is a Russian based promotion and Rustam Kerimov is their bantamweight champion. The undefeated Kerimov is 14-0 and is only 28 years old. The highly touted Russian has an incredible ability to land takedowns immediately after connecting with strikes. In his last title defense, Kerimov was able to display a wide variety of skills that led to a first-round stoppage. He’s had multiple 1st round stoppages, but he’s also spent time in 5 round battles. In his last 5 round war, Kerimov showed he can weather the storm and compete at a very high level.
Kyle Daukaus holds the Cage Fury Fighting Championship’s middleweight title. You may recognize the name if you tuned into the contender series in 2019. Daukaus carries an undefeated professional record of 9-0. The middleweight prospect has 8 career finishes by submission. Daukas’s bout on the contender series was a dominant decision victory, however failing to secure a finish, is most likely the reason he’s still looking from afar. Daukaus, a Philadelphia native, is only 27 years old and his prime is still approaching. If he’s able to improve his striking, along with his exceptional ground game, a UFC career is on the horizon.
There’s something to be said any time a multi-fight win streak happens inside of the lightweight division. When a fighter rattles off 11 in a row, it’s time to take notice. Denis Kanakov is another ACA fighter and he’s on an incredible streak. Kanakov has a 12-1 record and turns 30 in December. He’s got a devastating right hand, as well as an awesome red beard like Paul Felder. All jokes aside, Kanakov would look great with the UFC’s Reebok shorts the next time he steps into a cage.
Cage Warriors has been a pipeline for the UFC in recent years. The list of CW’s alumni that have gone on to have successful UFC careers is astounding. The newly crowned lightweight champion, Mason Jones might be next. “The Dragon” is 25 years old and just became champion back in March. He’s undefeated as a professional and is ranked 6th by Tapology for professional lightweights in the UK. With only 9 professional fights, Jones may need more experience before making the jump. However, not many 25-year-olds become champion with so little cage time.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. A highly decorated Russian ACA bantamweight that totes a staggering record. At 16-1, with his lone loss coming from Petr Yan in their rematch, Magomedov unquestionably needs to make his octogen debut sooner than later. The UFC without a doubt has the best bantamweight division in the world. Two premier prospects in Kerimov and Magomedov would only bolster an already exceptional division.
There is an influx of fighters outside of the UFC that are elite on the world level. Mixed Martial Arts is continuing to grow and it’s relieving that live fights are back in action. Those were 5 fighters the UFC needs to sign and there’s still many more.
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