The UFC tweeted this morning that it has signed Japanese featherweight Hatsu Hioki. Hioki, currently ranked as the world's #2 featherweight by the USA TODAY/SBNation Consensus MMA Rankings, is by far the most highly regarded fighter to not be signed to a Zuffa promotion.
Here's the tweet from the UFC:
FYI - guard-smashing savant Hatsu Hioki, a top-ranked featherweight, has been signed to the UFC roster. Welcome!
Hioki has an impressive 24-4-2 record with his only recent loss coming in a controversial decision loss to Michihiro Omigawa. Hioki owns two wins over UFC title challenger Mark Hominick, as well as Jeff Curran, Marlon Sandro, Takeshi Inoue, Ronnie Man and Rumina Sato. He is a former Shooto champion with experience fighting for the Sengoku promotion.
Expect Hioki to have to win a fight or two before he gets a crack at the belt currently held by Jose Aldo.
HL video of Hioki in the full entry.