Five Canadians that belong in the UFC

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565Over the years we’ve seen many Canadian fighters grace the UFC’s octagon including stars like Georges St-Pierre, Rory MacDonald and Patrick Cote. But with GSP absence from the sport and the UFC cutting back on events north of the border, there has been a steady decline in Canadian fighters migrating to the Las Vegas based promotion. While fighters from the Great White North are lacking on opportunity, there’s no shortage of talent. Plenty of Canadian fighters deserve a chance at competing in the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, but choosing a list had to come with a criteria. Of the five fighters listed below, all have at least 10 fights and don’t have any (legal or personal) issues as to why they aren’t already in the UFC. Also left off this list is ONE FC bantamweight champion and Vancouver, BC native Bibiano Fernandes who most would consider as a Brazilian fighter over being Canadian. In no particular order, here are five Canadians that belong in the UFC.   Smealinho Rama (9-1) WSOF Heavyweight Champion 22 years old. Calgary, AB (Independent MMA) At just 22 years of age, Rama has already won two heavyweight championships including the MFC heavyweight title and most recently he captured the WSOF heavyweight title – defeating Derrick Mehman at WSOF 14 – last October. The only blemish on his resume is a knockout loss to current UFC heavyweight fighter Anthony Hamilton, but since that defeat he’s won three straight including wins over highly touted prospect Steve Mocco and UFC veteran Tim Hague. Many pundits will argue that Rama is too young to be competing in the UFC, but with the lack of quality opposition outside the UFC, he would likely be better served in the Las Vegas based promotion right now. The other issue is that Rama has never fought outside Canada in his career and this is apparently due to legal issues with him crossing the border. In an interview a few months ago with MMASucka Radio, Rama felt confident that those issues would get resolved. Regardless, the Calgary native has a fight lined up with Bellator Season 10 tournament finalist Blagoy Ivanov at WSOF 21 on June 21st, Should he emerge victorious for his fourth straight win, the UFC would be hard pressed not to sign him, especially with their lack of prospects currently in their heavyweight division.   Ryan Dickson (10-2) Lightweight/Welterweight fighter 25 years old, Burlington, ON (Jeff Joslin MMA) When the cast of TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia was announced last year one of the biggest surprises was the absence of Dickson on the Canadian squad. Currently the 25-year old has won four straight fights and finished all of his opponents during that span. His only losses are to TUF 16 veteran Michael Hill and current UFC welterweight Alex Garcia – in a bout where Dickson only had four weeks to train after overcoming testicular cancer. The Jeff Joslin trained fighter has only gone the distance twice in his career and has finished ten of his opponents. He’s currently slated to defend his Hard Knocks lightweight title against Bellator veteran Jason Fischer on March 20th at Hard Knocks Fighting 42. If he can push his already outstanding record to 11-2, a UFC call-up can’t be far off.   Misha Cirkunov (10-2) Light-Heavyweight fighter 27 years old, Toronto, ON (Xtreme Couture) Cirkunov earned the biggest win of his career in his last fight – at Hard Knocks 41 this past January – knocking out UFC veteran Rodney Wallace to capture the Hard Knocks Light Heavyweight title. The win was the 27-year olds third in a row and his sixth career win by stoppage. Along with his impressive record, Cirkunov is very vocal about his desire to be in the UFC and possess the type of fan friendly combination that fans seem to gravitate towards. Just like their heavyweight division, the UFC’s light heavyweight division has a serious drop off after some of the top contenders and Cirkunov would be a welcomed addition.   Josh Machan (12-4) Featherweight Fighter 28 years old, Blackfalds, AB (Arashi-Do Martial Arts) Despite a rough start to his career going 0-3, the 28-year-old Machan has turned it around going an impressive 12-1. He most recently earned a split decision victory over MFC veteran Adam Lorenz – at WSOF: Ford vs. Powell- last year, but prior to that Arashi-Do Martial Arts product had finished his last four opponents. His only loss in the last five years has come to current UFC lightweight fighter Mitch Clarke and has since gone on a five-fight win streak. Machan doesn’t have a fight currently scheduled and would be a great addition to the UFC’s featherweight class if they ever decide to host a show in Calgary this year. Otherwise expect to see him on the Havoc FC 19 card or WSOF 21 event in June.   Ryan Machan (23-9) Welterweight Fighter 31 years old, Sylvan Lake, AB (Arashi-Do Martial Arts) The “Sylvan Lake Strangler” earned his fifth win in a row this past November submitting WSOF veteran Marcus Hicks in the first round at Hard Knocks Fighting 39. The win also marked the current Havoc FC 170lb champion’s 23rd victory by way of stoppage and his 16th career victory by submission. In fact, Machan has only gone the distance four times in his career and all of those were in defeat. The 31-year old holds victories over UFC lightweight Kajan Johnson and TUF veteran Richie Whitson while his losses include UFC welterweight Jordan Mein and Bellator veteran Guillaume DeLorenzi. Machan is slated to fight UFC veteran Cody MacKenzie at the end of the month at Havoc FC 8.

Written by James Lynch

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