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Rauno 10-10-2012 06:54 AM

Power Ranking Strikeforce Fighters' UFC Potential

Honorable Mention: Ryan Couture

Ryan Couture deserves an honorable mention for obvious reasons.

As a 30-year-old chasing his father's historic mixed martial arts legacy, Couture is just scratching the surface of his future potential.

He's 5-1 through six professional fights, including two submissions and one TKO victory.

As a lightweight, it may take him some time to make a relevant splash in a jam-packed UFC division. But with Randy Couture's blood coursing through his veins, nothing is impossible.

10. KJ Noons

KJ Noons makes this list for one reason: he beat Nick Diaz back in 2007.

Now even though that fight took place nearly five years ago, it still showcases Noon's overall capabilities inside a cage.

As an elite striker who combines world-class kickboxing with Kenpo Karate, the 29-year-old may eventually have trouble with the UFC lightweight division's core group of wrestlers.

However, with world-class preparation and a somewhat youthful body behind him, Noon should have no trouble making an immediate UFC impact.

9. Lorenz Larkin

Lorenz Larkin is undefeated at 13-0-1(NC) for a reason.

The dude is an absolute beast.

As a 26-year-old top prospect, Larkin is seemingly one fight away from evolving into an elite star.

He was scheduled to take on Strikeforce middleweight titleholder Luke Rockhold in November, but the champ recently pulled out due to injury.

Regardless, whether Larkin fights a replacement or simply takes this time to think about his UFC future, the powerful middleweight should become a household name by the end of 2013.

8. Tim Kennedy

Many people are writing Tim Kennedy off as a top contender after his recent loss to Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold back in July.

Honestly, it's not fair.

Before that defeat Kennedy had only lost to Ronaldo Souza and Jason Miller, who was then in his prime, since 2001. That's pretty impressive.

The bottom line is that the Army Staff Sergeant has world-class submissions that are capable of stopping nearly any UFC middleweight in their tracks.

Except you know who.

7. Rafael Cavalcante

If this list was based on experience then Rafael "Fejiao" Cavalcante would be the obvious No. 1 choice.

But that's not the case. This list is comprised around future potential.

Cavalcante may still have gas left in the tank, but he simply won't be able to contend within an exponentially evolving UFC light heavyweight division for much longer.

Therefore, his time to transition to the UFC is right now.

Unfortunately, Cavalcante has to fulfill his one-year suspension due to failing a post-fight drug test before showcasing his skills against the best in the world.

6. Ronaldo Souza

Right now Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza is ready to compete in the UFC middleweight division.

As a matter of fact, considering Souza possesses two black belts and power in his hands, he may be an instant top contender.

Since dropping his first professional bout in 2003, the 32-year-old has only lost to two guys: Gegard Mousasi and Luke Rockhold.

That type of success is only meant for the UFC and has a good chance of being measured if the two sides can work out a respectable contract.

5. Nate Marquardt

Nate Marquardt was once considered one of the best middleweights in the world.

The guy was literally one victory away in 2010 from getting another shot at Anderson Silva's UFC championship. Unfortunately, he was unable to get past Chael Sonnen.

Imagine how much that would have changed history.

Regardless, Marquardt is still in his prime and still capable of taking on the best fighters in the world.

This time, it's going to be as a welterweight.

4. Luke Rockhold

Luke Rockhold is a quintessential athlete.

He possesses great wrestling, great kickboxing and excellent submissions. He's been able to to utilize those skills to produce a 10-1 professional record, finishing eight of those bouts in the process.

In hindsight, Rockhold would be the No. 1 guy on this list.

However, considering he'd be a middleweight champion coming over to the UFC, he'd be consequently matched up against Anderson Silva.

Unfortunately for the 27-year-old, that doesn't bode well for his future potential.

Sometimes it sucks to be in the same weight class as the greatest fighter of all time.

3. Gilbert Melendez

The UFC has had its sights set on Gilbert Melendez for literally years.

It's been a tough road trying to pick him free from Showtime's stranglehold, but those complications could finally be coming to an end.

Melendez has made a name for himself as the best lightweight fighter in the world not in the UFC. He has done so on the back of winning nine career Strikeforce title fights.

He possesses excellent wrestling skills, solid boxing and world-class grappling due in part to training with both Nick and Nate Diaz.

If this potential collapse actually comes to fruition, Melendez should be the first name the UFC swipes off the open market.

2. Gegard Mousasi

Out of all the fighters in the world currently without a UFC or Strikeforce title, Gegard Mousasi may be the best of the whole crop.

At 27 years of age, Mousasi has already compiled a professional record of 32-3-2, including 18 knockouts and 10 submissions.

He has defeated Hector Lombard, Ronaldo Souza, Mark Hunt and Renato Sobral throughout his Pride, Dream and Strikeforce careers. He has never been knocked out and he's capable of fighting as a middleweight, light heavyweight or heavyweight.

Bottom line, the guy is a perfect fit for the UFC. And regardless of which division he decides to step foot in, he'd be an instant title contender.

1. Daniel Cormier

Widely considered the No. 2 heavyweight fighter on the planet, Strikeforce champion Daniel Cormier is ready to take the UFC by storm.

As an elite wrestler who possesses serious one-punch knockout power, Cormier poses a threat to any current UFC heavyweight.

It's nearly impossible to contain his takedowns while trying to defend his decapitating strikes. It's the reason why Cormier's professional record stands unscathed at 10-0 and it's the reason why he'll instantly contend for the UFC title when he packs his Strikeforce bags.

It's yet to be determined if Cormier possesses the key ingredients to defeat Junior dos Santos, but it'd be one hell of a brawl.

This is just their top 10 list. Now add Kyle, OSP, Gracie, Woodley, Thomson, Healy and Masvidal there and you got something. In fact, Noons doesn't deserve to be on the list when Masvidal and Thomson both beat him.

OU 10-10-2012 10:06 AM

IMO here is how I value the fighters. I'll start from 1 and work to 10.

1.Gilbert Melendez- he is the only SF fighter(male fighter) right now that has any claim to #1 in the World at his weight class. He has been in position for to challenge for the top spot for years now.

2.Mousasi- The UFC needs contenders for Bones. Mousasi is as big a challenge IMO as anyone at LHW that hasn't already fought Jones. He is still fairly young but very experienced at the same time.

3.Cormier- He is one win away from challenging for the UFC title. IMO he is a bigger threat to JDS then Cain. I consider him to be a top 3 HW right now.

4.Luck Rockhold- I think he is legit. I wouldn't mind seeing Rockhold vs Bisping just to see if Luke is ready for a shot at Anderson. Weidman would have been another good matchup.

5.Jacare- He is a great athlete that is improving on the feet and has the kind of ground game to threaten anyone. IMO he is just as dangerous as anyone at MW for Anderson Silva.

6.Feijao- More fresh blood at the top of the LHW division. He has great finishing ability and he even had Hendo hurt in that fight. I wouldn't mind seeing him vs the UFC elites.

7.Nate Marquardt- He had a long layoff and is lucky he even got the opportunity to fight for SF title right away. I don't think he deserves to be in the mix right now. I would like him to fight someone like Kos. He deserves a tough matchup for his past behavior.

8. Tim Kennedy- He is a tough fighter that will give just about anyone problems. I wouldn't mind seeing how he does vs someone like Okami or even Munoz.

9.Roger Gracie- He could add more depth at MW, he has the Gracie name to get the casual fans attention. He seems to be improving. Give him someone like Herman or Ring to start out and see how he does.

10.Josh Thompson- I just like him slightly more then Larkin for my last spot. A tough, veteran fighter that can come in and compete with guys like Jim Miller and Gray Maynard right away. LW is deep but Thompson can compete with most of the top LW in the UFC IMO.

Honorable Mentions: Larkin,Masvidal,Healy,Noons,Woodley.

John8204 10-19-2012 08:13 AM

1. Luke Rockhold - He may not be the best fighter coming over but he's competing in one of the lighter divisions and he matches up well against anyone. I expect him not only to get a title shot but to also be relevant for years to come.

2. Nate Marquardt - Kind of a cheat but the guys been given a gift from god with his second chance. While Nate may have choked at 185 at 170 he should have better luck and having defeated Nate Woodley he should manage to hold his own with the wrestlers at 170. Irony of Ironies we could see Maia/Marquardt in a title eliminator very soon.

3. Daniel Cormier - While I consider him to be a huge prospect he's a big long in the tooth with some kidney issues. I don't know if he has the same long term quality to his career like Rockhold and Marquardt.

4. Roger Gracie - God would the UFC love a Gracie in the UFC not only that but by competing at MW he far less likely to get KO'd.

5. Jacare Souza - Another MW, if you can't tell I think that division will get a massive shot in the ass with talent.

6. Feijao - I think of all 205ers that could jump over the only one who I think could make five years in the division is Feijao. He may never reach a title fight but I think it will be very hard to see him lose two fights in a row

7. Gilbert Melendez - The issue is "UFC Potential" is Gilbert Melendez the best fighter coming into the UFC from Strikeforce...yes. The problem is he's entering a division where every fight is going to be a killer for him. He's going to have the hardest fights to win, and he doesn't have the finishing ability to give him that immediate title shot.

8. Jorge Masvidal - I think as long as he doesn't have to fight for five rounds and he knows those bonus checks are coming in the mail I jorge could be a fan favorite.

9. Josh Barnett - The only person that will take Barnett out of the UFC is Barnett. I expect a top ten spot a perennial contender-ship and then a boot for doing something stupid.

10. Gregard Mousassi - Unless he hits 185 he's got two chances of surviving in the UFC LHW division slim and none. I expect a Gilbert Yvel run from him 0-3 with 3 decision losses.

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