Dana White has said that every member of this seasons TUF will get to pay their dues in the Octagon, so the prospect list may sit on the shelves of the UFC scouters. Once the TUF alum begin to pick themselves off, however, expect White and company to start their searches for these divisional standouts. Here is the Prospect List.
The current King of the Cage heavyweight champion is riding a 9 fight winning streak, with 7 finishes among the bunch. Among his streak, he's claimed the scalps of UFC veteran Fabiano Scherner and "Afrozilla" Nick Gaston." He has a chin, which he displayed after recovering from an overhand right dropped him in his KotC heavyweight title fight. A young fighter with knockout power, and a UFC heavyweight division with waning prospect options sounds like a good match. I'd like to see East get his chance to step up and fight in the big leagues.
Light-Heavyweight: Steve Bosse
At 31, the time is right for Bosse to make his step up. In the sport of MMA, the realistic window for his athleticism is beginning to close, and there isn't a better time for him to step into the UFC's most marketed division. The former pro hockey player rides a 7 fight win streak, punctuated by a vicious knockout of UFC veteran Houston Alexander. A huge fan favorite in Canada, it would be a shame to not see another crossover professional athlete join the UFC's ranks.
Coming into 2012, Manhoef hadn't won a fight in 2 years. It looked like the Dutch striker had simply been passed by. However, in 2012 he righted ship and went 3-0(1) and looked impressive doing it. The middleweight striker with heavyweight power has gone on record as saying he would like to end up in the UFC, so I don't see why it isn't happening as soon as it possibly can.
Welterweight: Cathal Pendred
The fighter from Dublin may not have the prettiest striking, but his cage control and dirty boxing are top notch. He rides a 6 fight unbeaten streak, and caps it off with wins over veterans David Bielkheden and Bruno Carvalho. Also: the man has rubber arms. Youtube his fight with Carvalho, and at the end of the second round, be amazed at his resistance to the torque of that armbar. I believe Pendred deserves his opportunity at the major leagues.
Anybody remember "Fancy Pants?" It wasn't that long ago he was the next big thing in independent Strikeforce's 155lb division. Back to back losses against veterans Pat Healy and Shinya Aoki put his hype on ice, but since his release he's gotten back to his streaking ways, winning 5 straight, and a unanimous decision over Pride and UFC veteran Marcus Aurelio. Beerbohm already has name recognition with Strikeforce and hardcore fans alike, so bringing him back into the fold would be a cinch.
Since 2003, the only people Tatsuya Kawajiri ever lost to were champions. Gilbert Melendez(2x), Eddie Alvarez, Shinya Aoki, all current or future champs when Kawajiri stepped up to fight them. Since dropping from 155 to featherweight, Kawajiri has gone unbeaten. The UFC needs to look into the scrapper from Tokyo, it's a travesty that he has stayed away from them for so long.
Chase Beebe, the 2nd Bantamweight champion of the WEC, went on quite a tear during 2012, fighting and winning 6 times, including picking up his first knockout victory. Since the five fight skid that saw he released from the mainstream MMA medias attention, he's gone 13-2-1, with victories in Bellator to boot. The UFC should pick up the veteran 135er and make the most of him. A former champion in a division all too thin at the moment could go a long way for the marketing team.
In the UFC's newest active division, flyweight, stars are few and far between. Adding outside talent is essential at this time. Tachi Palace Fights former flyweight champion Darrell Montague is a perfect addition to the fray. With a 12-2 record (his only losses coming to featherweight Robert Peralta and former #1 flyweight Ian McCall), Montague has the skill set to make some noise. Picking up a victory against veteran Mamoru Yamaguchi in his last fight, Montague is ready for the UFC's thinnest division, no doubt.