It looks like another round of UFC releases may be in the works, with the apparent removal of three fighters from the UFC's active rosters. UFCFIGHTERSiNFO first reported the changes, and barring the rare data entry error, those changes almost always mean that a fighter's time with Zuffa has come to a close. Appearing on the chopping block today are Anthony Njokuani, Bruno Santos, and Wang Anying.
[Deleted] Anthony Njokuani (Light) [Deleted] Bruno Santos (Middle) [Deleted] Wang Anying (Welter) http://t.co/JYOHfrZaJc— UFCFIGHTERSiNFO (@UFCFIGHTERSiNFO) December 1, 2014
Anthony Njokuani is almost certainly the biggest name on this list. The former WEC star carved out a long and fruitful career fighting under Zuffa. While his eventual record may have fallen short of greatness, at 7-8, his 5 years withe the WEC and UFC provided fans with a lot of action highlights, most recently in a knockout win over Roger Bowling. At his peak, Njokuani went toe to toe with Edson Barboza and Danny Castillo, and took a win from John Makdessi. But, his 2014 has been notably lackluster, as Njokuani suffered two ugly losses to Vinc Pichel and Daron Cruickshank, both of which were able to effectively nullify his offense with a wrestling heavy attack.
Bruno Santos' release is somewhat surprising, as he's gone loss-win-loss over his lone year as a UFC fighter. "Carioca" was somewhat notable as a Rebney era Bellator holdout, who sat out a full year of his career, for a shot in the UFC. While his results haven't been terrible, on paper, the fights themselves have stayed remarkably true to Santos' reputation as a grinding, controlling grappler. Santos has landed only 53 strikes, with one submission attempt over 3 decisions. His release is in lockstep with the UFC message, unexciting fighters are on a short leash.
Finally, Anying Wang appears to be on his way out as well. The former TUF China contestant made his entry to the UFC official with a TKO of Albert Cheng at the TUF China Finale (UFC Fight Night: Kim vs. Hathaway). His next time out saw him taking on blue chipper, Colby Covington on the UFC's return trip to Macao. Covington blitzed Anying, knocking him out in the first round. While releasing Anying may seem like a harsh move, given his limited opportunities for success, it may serve him better, if he can fight competition closer to his level on the regional circuit and build his still very young career up closer to an international caliber.
Of all the fighters released, Anying definitely seems most likely to return, provided the UFC maintains any interest in attracting Chinese fighters. Santos may find purchase as a late replacement in Brazil, but his style of fighting probably wont make him a first option. Of course, if he can rejuvenate his career regionally, Njokuani could certainly make it back to the UFC, but with 12 years as a pro already under his belt, that possibility feels somewhat remote.