In this two-part article, we will be looking at the top prospects outside of the UFC. This article covers Featherweight below and the second article will cover Lightweight and up. So, check out who you could be seeing in the Octagon by the end of 2014.
Georgi Karakhanyan (23-3-0)
Currently in the WSOF, Karakhanyan is the Featherweight champion and outside of a 2-2 stretch in Bellator, he has been on fire. Karakhanyan is riding a nine fight win streak which has wins over Din Thomas, Hiroyuki Takaya, and Lance Palmer. In that span, he has also finished seven of the nine wins.
Glenn was supposed to face off with Karakhanyan for the WSOF Featherweight title, but an injury pulled him from the bout. He started out his career at a pedestrian 3-2, but has turned up the pace by winning his last 11 fights. He is a Duke Roufus disciple who has finished 12 of his 14 wins.
The undefeated prospect just picked up the biggest win of his career by taking out former UFC fighter Jeff Curran. He will be put to the test when he takes on fellow undefeated prospect Billy Daniels at RFA 12 next weekend in Los Angeles, California.
Thomas de Almeida(15-0-0)
How is a fighter who has won 15 straight bouts and finished everyone not in the UFC yet? Well, that is the question that Almeida fans have been wondering for a while. Almeida may need that one signature win to make it to the Octagon since most of his wins are over relative MMA newcomers.
The current Invicta FC Bantamweight champion almost lost her last bout to Miriam Nakamoto, but an injury to her opponent gave her the win. Still, at 8-0 she deserves a shot over some of the people the UFC currently has signed.
For a bit of international flavor, Rin Nakai is a Japanese native with 15 straight wins. She picked up the biggest win of her career in September of last year against TUF 18 competitor Tara La Rosa. At 5’1” she may be a bit too short for the division.
While only five fights into his career, Cejudo is one of the best prospects at 125. He is only 26 years old, has an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling, and is also a finisher. His next fight comes at the end of the month against 4-0 Elias Garcia which could be the win her needs to make it to the UFC.
In three years, Menga has been able to win ten straight fights, and goes against the grain of English fighters by being a submission specialist. The UFC is in dire need of fighters at Flyweight, and an undefeated prospect fits the bill.
While Penne fights at Atomweight(105), she has been seen on Twitter stating her intentions of going up to Strawweight to tryout for TUF 20. She used to fight at 115 until she dropped weight in 2010. The UFC would be crazy not to pick her up since she is one of the most talented fighters in any women’s division.
While the UFC has Carla Esparza who was the Invicta FC Strawweight champion, one of her only losses is to Jessica Aguilar who left Bellator for the WSOF. She is not a finisher, but any division missing arguably the best fighter in the division is not complete.