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.
-Daniel Cormier (11-0 MMA, 8-0 SF)
-Gegard Mousasi (33-3-2 MMA, 4-1-1 SF)
-Gian Villante (10-3 MMA, 3-2 SF)
-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)
-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)
-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 Mousasi – An 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 Rockhold – He’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?