13 Best Non-UFC Fighters (Ex-UFC & Upcoming)

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Many talented fighters have left the UFC and continued their career outside the promotion.

Some fighters haven’t touched the UFC yet, but are hoping to become future legends of the promotion.

The selection in this article contains some of the best non-UFC fighters who would be an exciting addition to the UFC roster. 

Will we see a return to the UFC for some? Or will new contenders enter the scene? And do they have the titles, the record, and the guts to move to the bigger stage? 

Keep reading as you might see some of your favorite fighters who are close to UFC quality.

13. Angela Lee

Angela Lee is a Canadian-American MMA fighter in ONE Championship.

This Singaporean, Chinese, and Korean descent fighter fights (and instructs) out of the Evolve MMA in Lion City.

With her early exposure to martial arts, she has launched into success ahead in different disciplines. She is a promising pro-fighter, given her solid record. 

Lee won the Inaugural ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship title in an intense match with Japanese MMA veteran Mei Yamaguchi in 2016.

Unstoppable Angela Lee later regained the Atomweight championship in March 2022 against Stamp Fairtex.

12. Alexander Shlemenko

Hailing from Russia, Alexander Shlemenko is a Bellator middleweight fighter.

This fighter trains at the Saturn Profi – a sports club in Omsk, Russia, where other fighters like Sarnavskly and Koreshkov train.

Alexander formally started his MMA career at 20. He is famous for his spinning back kicks in his stand-up fights. Alexander is also known as ‘Storm’ in the cage.

He once ended a fight against Robert McDaniel with a flying knee and a left hook simultaneously.

Most of Shlemenko’s match victories ended with a total knock-out.

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11. Gegard Mousasi

Standing at 6’2, Gegard “The Dreamcatcher” Mousasi is a Dutch mixed martial artist who competes in Bellator MMA.

Mousasi fights out of Team Jurojin in Leiden, Netherlands.

He was ranked in the top 4 Middleweight fighters in UFC when he left in July 2017.

Mousasi is formerly the two-time Bellator Middleweight Champion. His swift jabs and front kicks brought him far from his early matches to the present.

We have yet to know if he’ll rejoin the UFC.

This fighter was intensely prepared for his rematch with Lyoto Machida, whom he lost to in 2014.

He aggressively won and outpointed Machida by a split decision in their second face-off.

10. Sergio Pettis

Dubbed “The Phenom,” Sergio Pettis is one of the outstanding pro fighters from Bellator in the Bantamweight division.

Sergio previously fought under UFC from 2013 until 2019. He trains out of Roufusport Academy in his hometown – Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

This fighter is on a roll having a five-win streak on his record.

He may be Anthony Pettis’ younger brother, but he sure does stack up his victories in the cage with his sharp Muay Thai skills.

Japanese mixed martial artist Kyoji Horiguchi lost to Sergio with a brutal spinning back fist in December 2021. This phenomenal fighter may have left the UFC, but fans are forever hyped with his fighting style.

9. Roberto Soldić

This Croatian fighter was previously the middleweight and welterweight champion in KSW but is now signed with ONE.

Soldić trains at the University of Fighting Gym Düsseldor (UFD) in Germany.

The ‘Robocop’ of the pro-fighting scene wants to compete in other sports within ONE championship.

Moving on from his successful career in KSW, fans have yet to see his debut in his new MMA promotion.

In his record, most victories ended with him knocking his opponent out.

He took the middleweight crown after locking in a punch to strike and knock out MMA champion Mamed Khalidov.

8. Vadim Nemkov

Vadim Nemkov holds the light-heavyweight title in Bellator. This 6-foot-tall Russian pro-fighter trains out of Stary Oskol in Belgorod Oblast, Russia.

He is also Fedor Emelianenko’s disciple.

Vadim’s style in the cage is Sambo, a lethal combination of ground and standing fighting techniques.

His fighting style brought him far in the cage. UFC might come knocking with a contract for him soon.

He faced Ryan Bader and landed 50 strikes and 41 punches during the Bellator 244 back in August 2020. Ending on a TKO, Vadim won the Heavyweight title.

7. Roberto de Souza

Roberto ‘Satoshi’ de Souza is Rizin’s Lightweight champion. He trains at Bonsai Academy with his brother, Marcos de Souza.

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, he eventually moved to Japan for major championships.

Satoshi was already big on the Asian BJJ scene, where he dominated different championships.

He’s an entire beast in the cage with his good ground and BJJ skills that got him far in MMA.

After losing to Johnny Case in their first fight, he ended Rizin 37 with his reverse triangle armbar submission during the second round.

He plans to go for a second promotional title, so we might see him in the UFC soon.

6. Anthony Johnson

Anthony “Rumble” Johnson fights for the Bellator light heavyweight division.

This American MMA fighter used to compete in UFC. And though his UFC contract ended, his career carried on.

Rumble is famous for turning his fights around. He always captures the right moment to land his finishing blow when being pushed down.

We might see him back in the UFC if he keeps up his winning record.

After his loss and last fight with Cormier in UFC 210, Johnson successfully made his return with his debut in Bellator against Jose Augusto.

Rumble won with a second-round knockout.

5. John Sweeney

Standing at 5’7, John Sweeney fights out of Upstate Karate in Simpsonville, South Carolina, USA. He currently fights in the XMMA Bantamweight division.

Fans know him as Hollywood.

This 27-year-old fighter can make it to the bigger scene.

Once he’s inside the cage, Hollywood strategically lands a punch that ends his matches with KOs or TKOs

In less than 45 seconds, Sweeney won his match against Dre Miley after successive punches just right after a straight punch from the left, followed by a right hook.

4. Ryan Bader

Ryan Bader is Bellator’s heavyweight champion. He was already phenomenal in the UFC Light Heavyweight division. He first trained at Arizona Combat Sports in Tempe. 

“Darth” Bader is approaching 40, but this champ is still on a roll. Fans live for his power punches and wrestling style.

We have yet to see if he will return to UFC, but we can expect exciting match-ups.

He went up against Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko.

He delivered a heavy blow that won him the match in 35 seconds. Fedor lost by a technical knockout after that first strike from Bader.

3. Demetrious Johnson 

Also known as DJ or Mighty Mouse, this 5’3 fighter has defended his Flyweight World Champion title back in UFC.

He is now under ONE Championship fighting out of AMC Pankration from Washington.

With his rapid strikes and body shots, he’s an entire beast in the cage. He has faced other fighters like Adriano Moraes.

Sadly, the fighter has declared that ONE Championship is his ‘last stop’.

Mighty Mouse took out three top flyweights fighters in Asia. His vicious choke of Rodtang Jitmuangnon showcased his elite Muay Thai and grappling skills.

He certainly dominates in the cage.

2. Adriano Moraes

Adriano ‘Mikinho’ Moraes was born and raised in Brazil and now trains with some of the best fighters from the American Top Team in Florida.

He fights in ONE Championship’s Flyweight division.

You will notice his opponents’ lookout for his submission and grappling techniques in the arena.

Mikinho’s fights are worth following, defeating other top flyweights like Yuya Wakamatsu and Demetrious Johnson.

Fans anticipate the rematch between him and the Mighty Mouse Demetrious Johnson.

Moraes KO’d Johnson with a combination of a high-knee and right uppercut – people called it the KO of the year.

1. Yaroslav Amosov

Dubbed ‘Dynamo,’ this Ukrainian fighter competes in the Welterweight division in Bellator.

He was previously the Tech-Krep FC Welterweight champion. His skills are rooted in Sambo training.

Dynamo became the Professional Combat Sambo champion of Eurasia. He remains undefeated out of his 26 matches.

This is what makes him one of the most exciting non UFC fighters currently.

Such a record will impress the UFC, where we hope to see him soon.

He went up against Douglas Lima in 2021, an intense battle of hooks and takedowns.

Amosov pinned and neutralized Douglas Lima on the fence, where he won by a unanimous decision.

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