The MMA Top Ten 6.09.14: Ten Invicta Fighters UFC Should Sign
Posted by Alex Rella on 06.09.2014
From Cyborg Justino and Lauren Murphy to "the Karate Hottie" Michelle Waterson and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top 10 Invicta Fighters that the UFC should sign!
Ten Invicta Fighters You Want to See in the UFC
Hey everybody, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at ten fighters currently in Invicta FC that you wish could come over and compete in the UFC. It was recently announced that Invicta shows will now be airing on UFC Fight Pass, which is a great partnership for both companies. Invicta gets a proper platform to air their product and the UFC adds on something unique to try and get more people to purchase Fight Pass. Plus it seems like UFC management is going to help Invicta get new talent and reach new markets.
So this week's list is looking at ten Invicta fighters that would do great over in the UFC. This could be whether they start to have a sort of talent exchange deal or ones that could just sign with the UFC once their current deal with Invicta is up. I did the rankings based on stuff like current rankings, past wins, records, and how I think they could fair in either the UFC's bantamweight or new strawweight division.
Ayaka Hamasaki- A strawweight with a 9-1 record
Miriam Nakamoto- A bantamweight with a 2-1(1) record
Sarah D'Alelio- A bantamweight with a 7-5 record
10: Zoila Frausto
This one might seem like an odd choice, but Zoila Frausto starts the list off in the tenth spot. The Warrior Princess is currently competing at flyweight over at Invicta, but she has spent time competing at both strawweight and bantamweight. She competed as a bantamweight before 2010 competing a few times in Strikeforce and submitted TUF 18 runner up Jessica Rakoczy. She then moved onto Bellator where she won their strawweight title with victories over Rosi Sexton (former UFC fighter), Jessica Penne (Invicta champ and TUF 20 competitor), Jessica Aguilar (WSOF champ), and Megumi Fujii. Frausto is currently on a three fight losing streak, but her past resume shows that she's capable of some great stuff. She recently started competing in Muay Thai and is 2-0, so I think she can still turn things around at 30 years old. I would give her a chance in either division.
9: Michelle Waterson
This is another one that might be a little bit of a stretch, but it would be really cool if it did happen. Michelle Waterson is one of the best female fighters in the world and easily the best atomweight fighter (105 lbs). The Karate Hottie trains out of Jackson's MMA and became the Invicta atomweight champion last April at Invicta 5. She has backgrounds in karate, wushu, muay thai, and jiu-jitsu with an 11-3 record. Eight of those eleven wins have come by way of submission too. Waterson isn't any higher though because she's only competed at 105 lbs during her career. I think she would become a huge fan favorite and solid draw if she were to come over to the UFC. Maybe she'll consider the move for a chance at more money, fame, and an easier weight cut.
8: Vanessa Porto
Currently the second best female flyweight in the world, Vanessa Porto would make a fine addition to the UFC. A former amateur boxing champion, Porto started training in BJJ at 20 years old and made her MMA debut a year later in 2005. She recently unsuccessfully challenged Barb Honchak for the Invicta flyweight championship, but she has competed as high as featherweight during her career. She has victories over Zoila Frausto, Tara LaRosa, Tonya Evinger, and Germaine de Randamie who is currently with the UFC. I would move back up to 135 lbs if the UFC should ever give her a call.
7: Barb Honchak
Barb Honchak is the current Invicta flyweight champion and without a doubt the best female fighter at 125 lbs in the world. A genuine genius with degrees in molecular biology, ecology, and genetics, Honchak made her MMA debut back in 2009. Now 9-2 (4-0 in Invicta), Honchak is the most recent champ to come out of Miletich Fighting Systems with victories over Felice Herring, Roxanne Modafferi, Vanessa Porto, and Leslie Smith. Unfortunately the Little Warrior would have to change weight classes though. The cut down to 115 lbs might be rough at 34 years old, but she did fight Cat Zingano in 2010 when she was just getting started. Honchak might be content competing in Invicta, but there are opportunities for more money and tougher competition if she wants to give it a try.
6: Katja Kankaanpaa
I was surprised Katja Kankaanpaa wasn't chosen to participate on the upcoming season of TUF. She's a top ten strawweight and The Killer Bunny has the best nickname ever in MMA. Nickname aside, Kankaanpaa is a really great fighter. With a background in karate and submission wrestling, the Finnish fighter made her MMA debut back in 2010 and now has an impressive 9-1-1 record. She recently lost for the first time to Joanne Calderwood (who'll be on TUF), but she's still way too good not to get a chance in the UFC's new division. The Killer Bunny would be a nice fighter to have for those European shows too.
5: Marlos Coenen
Marlos Coenen was beat again by Cyborg in her last fight, but I still think she would be a valuable addition to the UFC. It's a shame that probably the only thing holding Marloes Coenen out of the UFC is that she's signed with Golden Glory. Zuffa disagrees with how they handle their money (understandably so) and it's holding back a talented fighter. I wonder if Invicta's new working agreement with the UFC won't allow her to fight for them anymore. Regardless, Coenen has spent most of her career at featherweight competing for gold in Strikeforce and Invicta, but she has excelled in her brief time at bantamweight. She beat Sarah Kaufman for the Strikeforce bantamweight title and defended it against Liz Carmouche before losing to Miesha Tate. Since then, she's returned to 145 lbs going 2-1. I think Coenen's style would match up nicely against Rousey if she were to ever jump ship and drop back down to 135.
4: Tonya Evinger
Tonya Evinger made her MMA debut back in 2006 in a fairly historic fight as it was the first women's bout ever sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission. Evinger has since gone on to have a solid career while making appearances for EliteXC and Strikeforce. She has a win over Julie Kedzie, but has generally lost to that higher level of fighter for most of her career. Though now she's 29 and on a four fight winning streak, which included a win over Sarah D'Alelio back in December for her Invicta debut. It's possible Evinger is finally starting to put everything together at this point in her career. Worst case scenario is the UFC just adds on another quality fighter to their bantamweight division.
3: Mizuki Inoue
Mizuki Inoue is only 19 years old and is already one of the best strawweights in the world. The Japanese fighter started training in karate as a child and started her MMA training at only 11. By fifteen Inoue was already competing in shoot boxing (11-2) and she made her MMA debut a year later. She's now 7-2, but should be 8-1 if it weren't for JEWELS's awful rules for automatically disqualifying fighters for coming in overweight even if they win the fight. Inoue's only fight outside Japan was at Invicta 6 when she defeated Bec Hyatt, a former Invicta number one contender and one of the fighters already list for the upcoming season of TUF. I think she has the potential to be a future champion in the UFC and she may even turn out to be a nice draw for them over in Japan.
2: Lauren Murphy
Of course it's incredibly tough for Invicta to have a quality bantamweight division while the UFC recruits the best fighters in the world, but their 135 lb champ is pretty good. Lauren Murphy is the best female bantamweight outside the UFC in my opinion and she has an impressive 8-0 record. She beat Miriam Nakamoto to become the inaugural champion back in December and she also has wins over Kaitlin Young and Sarah D'Alelio. I don't see any other bantamweight in Invicta taking her down anytime soon as there is a pretty big jump talent wise after her, though she might have to take on Cyborg at some point if she is able to make 135 lbs. There isn't really anybody ready to take on Rousey after Alexis Davis, so maybe Murphy adds on another win or two and jumps ship to the UFC for an undefeated champion vs champion fight.
1: Cyborg Justino
An easy choice for number one this week as this would make for one of the biggest fights in MMA today and it's starting to look more and more like the fight with Rousey might actually happen. I agreed with Rousey and the UFC as to why it shouldn't have happened already if it wasn't at 135 lbs. First there is the principle of it, Cyborg had been cheating for who knows how long and Rousey shouldn't have to budge for her. Secondly, a catchweight fight early on in the women's division would depreciate the value of the bantamweight title. Plus the UFC showed that they didn't need Cyborg to have a successful women's division. But now this all changes with Cyborg trying to drop down to fight at bantamweight. Cyborg will have to prove she can make the weight cut before the UFC buys in, but it's going to be awesome if she can pull it off. Their legitimate hate for each other is going blow away Rousey's feud with Miesha Tate. This is a fight that can truly go either way too. The fight would be beyond amazing and I really hope it does happen at some point.
So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fighter out that you thought should be in the top 10.
As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.