MMA Prospect Roundtable 2023: Which Up-and-Comers Are UFC-Ready?

Abdoul Abdouraguimov
Abdoul Abdouraguimov (right) Credit: Brave CF

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Eli Aronov
Although just 6-0, his record would be a lot deeper if any of his fights actually happened. He seems to have a lot of people pull out of them — a fact he’s suspected is due to people finally getting film on him. While he may not be the most talented on the feet, he’s got weaponized cardio and the ability to take just about anybody down. His arm-triangle choke of Contender Series veteran Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz was as much due to his superb grappling skills as it was his pace.

George Hardwick
So I’ve been a little heavy on the grapplers, as I tend to be, but one guy who bucks that trend for me is George Hardwick. I simply love watching this guy, which is reason enough that the UFC should sign him. Rarely do you see a prospect with this kind of comfortableness on the feet and some of the meanest body shots that I’ve ever seen. His wrestling defense will hold up well enough, especially since he mixes in knees to deter the shots in the first place. The bottom line on this one is that he’s just too fun to not be in the UFC.

Abdoul Abdouraguimov
I’m not breaking any news here that ARES double champion ‘Lazy King’ belongs in the UFC. Vicious in the clinch, relentless wrestler, slick submission artist – there’s little that you can poke holes at in this man’s game. He’s already beaten UFC-veteran Godofredo Pepey and Bellator-veteran Karl Amoussou. I’m not sure what he needs to do to get signed, but hopefully a trip back to Paris should seal the deal for the French-based fighter.

Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady
It feels like the former Brave CF champion has been knocking on the door for years, but he’s still only 28 years old. He’s a fun striker with heavy hands, but also has the chain wrestling you’ve come to love from Fortis MMA. He transitions seamlessly from singles to doubles, mixing in ankle picks and trips. His experience against high level competition for the last half decade proves he’s ready. The move to start fighting in the states again, with Fury FC and LFA, shows an intention to get to the UFC.

Josefine Knutsson
I thought the UFC was going to bring her in after her fight on Road to the UFC. That fight really seemed like a setup to get the former kickboxer right into the UFC’s 115lbs division. Unfortunately, that fight wound up looking kind of lackluster with Ye Dam Seo not really wanting to engage all that much. She went back to the drawing board and put together a fun fight with fellow prospect Jacinta Austin at UAE Warriors – which showed me she could beat a top level prospect and deal with adversity. She’d be a great signing for that London card as a late replacement or just to fight.