The UFC is geared up with another big cast of lightweight talent... Well, mostly lightweights. There are a few featherweights and welterweights moving up and down respectively, to fill out the ranks, but you get the idea. Conor McGregor and Urijah Faber are set to captain dueling crews of fighters as they scrap for a place in the UFC over a few short weeks and a few short fights. It's USA vs. Europe and once again, while TUF may not be bringing in the ratings like it used to, the UFC has managed to put together a pretty reasonably talented cast of fighters.
Here are the names, as reported by Fox Sports:
|Julian Erosa||26||14–2||Johnny Nunes||30||5–1|
|Mike Flach||27||7–1||Billy Quarantillo||26||6–1|
|Tom Gallicchio||28||19–8||Andreas Quintana||24||8–1|
|Jason Gonzalez||25||9–2||Brandon Ricetti||28||7–1|
|Chris Gruetzemacher||29||12–1||Brennan Sevin||30||7–1|
|Ryan Hall||30||4–1||Jason Soares||25||8–0|
|James Jenkins||29||8–1||Austin Springer||28||8–0|
|Thanh Le||30||4–1||Tim Welch||25||12–5|
|Mehdi Baghdad||30||11–3||Artem Lobov||28||11–10–1 (1 NC)|
|Paulo Boer||28||10–1–1||Saul Rogers||25||10–1|
|Sean Carter||30||10–2||Sascha Sharma||28||8–2|
|Djamil Chan||25||11–2||Vladimir Sikic||25||10–0|
|Martin Delaney||36||10–1||Frantz Slioa||24||4–0|
|Thibault Gouti||28||10–0||Martin Svensson||30||14–5|
|Mohamed Grabinski||23||10–1||David Teymur||25||3–1|
|Abner Lloveras||32||19–7–1||Marcin Wrzosek||27||10–2|
There are a few immediately recognizable names on here. On the USA side, BJJ grappling ace Ryan Hall immediately jumps off the page, Andreas Quintana has a flashy record, including a TKO win over Yaotzin Meza, Jason Soares has shown himself to be a strong back control specialist, and Gruetzemacher fights out of the MMA Lab and has wins in Strikeforce and WSOF.
On the European side, Wrzosek and Chan have both shown themselves to be pretty strong prospects in the making, and SBG Ireland's Artem Lobov has been lobbying for a shot in the UFC for the past couple years. This should be an interesting season in terms of talent, with a lot of solid records, but not a ton of really young or green fighters. Hopefully the relative experience of the field keeps the fights interesting and competitive.