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Gracie, Mousasi, Marquardt Among Strikeforce Fighters Headed to the UFC


(Oh yeah, this guy is headed over as well. Thank God for that.)

As we reported yesterday, Jorge Gurgel’s claim that the fighters who came up short at Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine would find themselves out of a UFC contract was not exactly truthful. KJ Noons, Kurt Holobaugh, and Anthony Smith, for example, all suffered defeats at the event and were ironically the first names to be mentioned in the Strikeforce/UFC…migration, I guess?

On last night’s edition of UFC Tonight, the full list of Strikeforce fighters who would be making the transition to the big leagues was announced, and suffice it to say, there were a couple rather puzzling omissions and inclusions. After the jump is that full list, along with our thoughts on who some of these gentlemen should face in their UFC debuts.

HEAVYWEIGHT 
-Daniel Cormier (11-0 MMA, 8-0 SF)

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT 
-Gegard Mousasi (33-3-2 MMA, 4-1-1 SF)
-Gian Villante (10-3 MMA, 3-2 SF)

MIDDLEWEIGHT
-Luke Rockhold (10-1 MMA, 9-0 SF)
-Roger Gracie (6-1 MMA, 4-1 SF)
-Tim Kennedy (15-4 MMA, 6-2 SF)
-Lorenz Larkin (13-0 MMA, 4-0 SF)
-Ronaldo Souza (17-3 MMA, 7-1 SF)

WELTERWEIGHT
-Tarec Saffiedine (14-3 MMA, 6-1 SF)
-Nate Marquardt (32-11-2 MMA, 1-1 SF, 10-4 UFC)
-Jason High (16-3 MMA, 3-0 SF, 0-1 UFC)
-Bobby Voelker (24-8 MMA, 4-1 SF)
-Roger Bowling (11-3 MMA, 4-3 SF)

LIGHTWEIGHT
-Gilbert Melendez (21-2 MMA, 11-1 SF)
-Ryan Couture (6-1 MMA, 6-1 SF)
-Pat Healy (29-16 MMA, 7-1 SF, 0-1 UFC)
-K.J. Noons (11-6 MMA, 3-4 SF)
-Josh Thompson (19-5 MMA, 10-3 SF, 2-1 UFC)
-Adriano Martins (24-6 MMA, 1-0 SF)
-Kurt Holobaugh (8-1 MMA, 0-1 SF)

We know what you’re thinking, “WHERE’S BRANDON SALING?!”

Also notably absent from this list is that of Josh Barnett, who dispatched notable can Nandor Guelmino on the main card, and Estevan Payan, the famously dispatched Bellator veteran who also scored a win last Saturday and currently holds a 2-0 record in SF. Also heading over to the UFC but not included on this list is that of Bobby Green, who is already scheduled to face Jacob Volkmann at UFC 156.

Now, for the matchups.

Gegard MousasiAn incredible striker with ever-improving grappling, we think a good first fight for Mousasi would be against an Igor Pokrajac-level fighter. Pokrajac has fought 9 times in the UFC, and recently suffered a loss to Joey Beltran that was overturned to a NC after Beltran tested positive for Nandrolone.

Luke RockholdHe’s been scheduled to face Lorenz Larkin for what feels like years now, and if he can stay healthy long enough to actually fight under his new promotion, we say the UFC kills two birds with one stone with that matchup.

Tim Kennedy: It’s sink or swim time for everybody’s favorite drag queen Army Ranger, who has shown an ability to control most of his opponents on the mat while continuously appearing out of his element on the feet. A matchup against the similarly grappling-based but heavy handed Mark Munoz, who should finally be recovered from his various injuries in the near future, seems like a perfect test for both men.

Tarec Saffiedine: Throw the newly crowned welterweight champ the winner of the Rory MacDonald/Carlos Condit rematch if you’d really like to see how far his technical counter-striking game can take him. Of course, if you think he’s earned a warm up fight, give him Mike Pierce, a perennial top contender who has now collected three straight in the octagon.

Nate Marquardt: When he can walk on his own power again, we say give him Thiago Alves, who is literally one of the only upper-level guys in the welterweight division without a currently scheduled fight. If anything, it will show us whether or not Marquardt can learn to check a leg kick.

Ryan Couture: Tony Ferguson. I don’t know why, but something about where these two currently sit in the lightweight division just makes sense.

So, Potato Nation, do you like these potential matchups, and who would you suggest the remaining Strikeforce fighters square off against first?

-J. Jones

Cagepotato Comments

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Mongrel- January 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm
Maybe top 10.
Mongrel- January 16, 2013 at 10:13 pm
They should find a way to sign Barnett, the guy is still top 5.
Masdival... what's happening with that kid?
Mr_Misanthropy- January 16, 2013 at 9:05 pm
All aboard the Gayguard Hipe Trane! woot woot

They can't sign Barnett for 250k a fight, that's more than they pay 90% of their meaningful heavyweights.
Mr. Awesome- January 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm
I might be the only one but I would like to see OSP in the UFC. He's always fun to watch.
Alan K- January 16, 2013 at 3:08 pm
They're probably trying to work out something with Barnett. It sounded like he's hesitant to sign (unless the right deal comes along) because he likes wrestling in Japan and UFC would not go for that. No can do.
Gobbleston- January 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm
@Penis I think Tyron Woodley is just outright already in the UFC. Isn't he filling in on short notice for someone soon?
agentsmith- January 16, 2013 at 2:30 pm
I guess both CagePotato and Zuffa forgot about Masvidal.
painvelasquez- January 16, 2013 at 2:16 pm
I hate tim kennedy with a passion. What a douche. Nice wig though.
Xanderschultz- January 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm
Feijao? Before flaming, I know about drug test. I also know about Overeem's drug test, which doesn't seem to be stopping him. No please put Feijao in.
knucklesamitch- January 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm
My question is, is this the end-all-be-all list, or are there any contractual situations that have led to Zuffa not yet being able to transition certain fighters over to UFC. Also, in the case of Barnett, is his name missing because UFC hasn't offered him a contract, or are they negotiating?
El Topo- January 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm
No Masdival?
Pen Fifteen- January 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm
Tyron Woodley not getting a callup, even though he already has a W over Saffediene? Damn, that's cold-blooded. Maybe he can head to Bellator and he and Askren can try top Shamrock-Severn for the title of boringest fight ever.
algiersheadkick504- January 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm
I hope Kennedy fights an extra roided extra leg hungry Paul harris
J.Jones- January 16, 2013 at 11:28 am
@Hassium & drunken - Thanks for the spot. Curse my need to shoehorn rhymes into my articles!
ReX13- January 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm
How about "Pink Beret"?
HassiumWitte- January 16, 2013 at 11:21 am
Kennedy was an Army Ranger.
drunkenjunk- January 16, 2013 at 11:19 am
kennedy wasn't a marine
El Guapo- January 16, 2013 at 11:02 am
Tim Kennedy vs Brian Stann... On a Battleship... In the Persian Gulf.
BlueDaBaDee- January 16, 2013 at 10:49 am
Mousasi vs Shogun
anderson wanderlei paulo thiago alves silva- January 16, 2013 at 9:56 am
Dipset vs English class
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