Remember when Jorge Gurgel made the ominous claim that the losers at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine would be out of a job? It’s starting to look like that rule maybe just applied to Jorge Gurgel. (Sorry, bro.) According to reports that have been coming out since the show, a couple of prelim fighters who fell short in their matches will soon be picked up by the UFC.
First up is KJ Noons, who lost to Ryan Couture in a decision so questionable that Dana White wondered if the coin-flip method would be more effective. It was Noons’s fourth loss in his last five outings — dating back to his rematch loss to Nick Diaz in October 2010 — but the UFC is giving the tough lightweight striker a chance to prove himself in the Octagon. As Noons told MMAJunkie yesterday, ”They said, ‘Heal up, and as soon as you’re healed up, then start training, and we’ll get you on a card.”
For Noons, a potential move to the UFC would represent a massive improvement to his career, and not just because of the increased visibility:
“My last paycheck was a little bit under $40,000 a year ago. So now I made $40,000 last year. After taxes, and you have to pay your team, now I’ve got $30,000. Now I have to catch up on all my bills before my last fight. So there goes another $5,000 or $10,000. Now I have to live for a whole year off of $20,000? That was the real frustrating thing about Strikeforce. It’s like, ‘OK, you’re going to get a fight. (And then) no, it’s canceled.’ (It was like that) the whole year. The thing about the UFC is they are going to get you three fights a year.”
Next up on the UFC pick-up list is 24-year-old middleweight Anthony Smith, who put in an impressive showing against Roger Gracie before succumbing to a second-round arm-triangle choke. As TheMMACorner reports:
The MMA Corner has since confirmed with the fighter that he is indeed headed to the UFC. Smith stated that UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby came by the locker room following Smith’s fight and told him to get in touch with Shelby’s fellow UFC matchmaker, Joe Silva. Smith expects to have a contract to sign by the end of the week.
Despite a less-than-impressive record of 17-9, Smith has scored victories over Logan Clark, Eric Schambari, and Lumumba Sayers, and he has never gone to decision in 26 professional fights. Like Damarques Johnson and James Irvin before him, Smith hasn’t done his job unless somebody’s unconscious within the first two rounds — and there’s always a place in the UFC for guys like that.
No word yet on the fate of Nandor Guelmino, but you probably shouldn’t get your hopes up.
Update: Kurt Holobaugh — who came in on short notice and lost a unanimous decision to Pat Healy during the “Marquardt vs. Saffiedine” prelims — has also signed a UFC deal, according to an MMAJunkie report.