Now that Strikeforce has finally closed its doors, parent company Zuffa can officially announce the full list of fighters that have been brought over to the top-level promotion, the UFC. The introduction of these fighters, mainly in the MW, WW, and LW division, gives added life and excitement to a promotion putting on more events and more fights each year, particularly with the massive Fox deal. In truth, several notable Strikeforce fighters have already made the transition over to the UFC over the last year, including Alistair Overeem and Ronda Rousey.
From the heavyweights, Daniel Cormier (11-0) is the sole entrant to be initially announced. He is a former Olympic wrestler and heavyweight grand prix winner. The weakest division in terms of depth got two new faces in LHWs Gegard Mousasi (33-3-2) and Gian Villante (10-3). While Villante is still a prospect, expect Mousasi to immediately make noise with a bout against Shogun or Machida coming in the next six months.
The middleweight fighters to come over are reigning Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold (10-1), Roger Gracie (6-1), Tim Kennedy (15-4), Lorenz Larkin (13-0), and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (17-3). Gracie is clearly the best grappler in mixed martial arts, though his stand-up seems rudimentary at times. The best fighters from this group include Rockhold and Jacare.
The welterweights are Roger Bowling (11-3), Jason High (16-3), Nate Marquardt (32-11-2), newly crowned champion Tarec Saffiedine (14-3), and Bobby Voelker (24-8). There is class here, but none of these fighters are currently among the elite WWs in the UFC.
Adding to the deepest pool in mixed martial arts, the UFC’s lightweight division adds reigning champion and consensus Top 5 Gilbert Melendez (21-2), Ryan Couture (6-1), Pat Healy (29-16), Kurt Holobaugh (8-1), Adriano Martins (24-6), K. J. Noons (11-6), and the returning Josh Thomson (19-5). Melendez has already received a title shot with UFC champion Benson Henderson at UFC on Fox 7 in April.
In the days after the press release, HW Josh Barnett (33-6) was also added to the UFC website. A notable omission is LW Jorge Masvidal (23-7).
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This article was first posted on January 18, 2013