The Ten Fighters Most Likely to Make it BACK to the UFC

The Ten Fighters Most Likely to Make it BACK to the UFC

MMA Manifesto

The Ten Fighters Most Likely to Make it BACK to the UFC


pat healy

LAS VEGAS, NV – FEBRUARY 28: Pat Healy from the Lion’s Den during the IFL weigh-in at the Orleans Hotel February 28, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images for IFL)


As the UFC world continues to expand, it makes it more and more likely that they let go of a deserving fighter. Luckily, it has become more and more likely that those faces resurface back in the UFC. Take Tamdan “The Barn Cat” McCrory, who walked away from MMA after losing two out of three in the UFC. After taking off over five years and winning a couple Bellator fights, he’s now getting his second run. Andrei Arlovski is back and making a serious run at the title. Even Robbie Lawler is on his second run and he carries around one of those big shiny belts.

Despite all of these returns, when you try to break it down, it’s pretty impossible to determine what it takes to get back. Some fight for years like Lawler. Others take breaks, like McCrory. Then there’s Walt Harris who didn’t even need to take one fight before they got the call back. And it’s not just different lengths – it takes different organizations and different finishes. With it being nearly impossible to predict what these guys will need, let’s take a look at the ten I think that have the best chance to get back in the octagon.


10. Clay “Heavy Metal” Harvison – (13-5)
Left UFC: November 12th, 2011
Record Since: 4-1
Last Fought For: Legacy FC

“Heavy Metal” didn’t exactly have an impressive run in the organization. A split decision win was followed by a couple of one-sided losses. Now on a four-fight win streak, he’ll headline Legacy’s October fight card.


9. Patrick Walsh – (6-2)
Left UFC: February 14th, 2015
Record Since: 1-0
Last Fought For: CES MMA

Walsh completely dominated his opponent, WSOF veteran Jesse McElliot, in his first fight since being let go. He didn’t get the finish, but he showed promise. At only 26 years old, he’ll have plenty of time to get back.


8. Azamat “Tough Guy” Gashimov – (8-3)
Left UFC: May 18th, 2013
Record Since: 1-0
Last Fought For: RUFF

A quick 0-2 got him released quick, but he hardly got an easy schedule. Ivan Menjivar and John Lineker are as tough of opponents as a newcomer could have in that division. Now refocused at Jackson’s MMA, he may only be a couple wins away from getting another shot.


7. Clifford Starks – (12-2)
Left UFC: April 20th, 2013
Record Since: 4-0
Last Fought For: World Series of Fighting

He’ll fight in September against undefeated prospect Krasimir Mladenov. If he can upset the Bulgarian fighter, it’ll be five in a row and quite hard to ignore.


6. Daniel “The Pit” Pineda – (21-11)
Left UFC: March 15th, 2014
Record Since: 3-0
Last Fought For: Legacy FC




BOSTON, MA – AUGUST 17: Daniel Pineda punches Diego Brandao in their featherweight bout at TD Garden on August 17, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

I’ve already stated that I believe Legacy to be one of the best outside organizations. So, getting three straight submissions inside of it is no small feat.


5. Mike Ricci – (10-4)
Left UFC: September 21st, 2013
Record Since: 2-0
Last Fought For: Titan FC

Ricci has been booked for a lot of high profile fights. Perhaps if they all went through he would already be back. For now, he awaits his first booking since signing with World Series of Fighting.


4. Bristol Marunde – (16-9)
Left UFC: August 3rd, 2013
Record Since: 4-0
Last Fought For: XFFC

This guy has been around the block. From IFL to Strikeforce to the UFC, he’s had some amazing fights. You have to give credit to anyone who lasts for two and a half rounds with Jacare. Now down a division and rattling off wins left and right, you’ve got to give him even more credit.



3. Anthony “Lionheart” Smith – (22-11)
Left UFC: June 8th, 2013
Record Since: 5-1
Last Fought For: CFFC
Smith never really got a chance in the UFC. They let him go after one submission loss to Antonio Braga Neto. With five wins in a row and four finishes, the CFFC 185-pound champion is pining for a second fight on the big stage.

2. Goran “Ghost” Reljic – (15-4)
Left UFC: November 13th, 2010
Record Since: 7-1
Last Fought For: KSW

Reljic has been away from the spotlight for longer than anyone on this list. However, his record is strong and includes a win against the very tough Attila Vegh. In one of the weakest divisions in the UFC, he’s one slip near a hot tub away from getting a call.



1. Pat “Bam Bam” Healy – (32-20)
Left UFC: July 16th, 2014
Record Since: 3-0
Last Fought For: Titan FC




The Titan FC Champion will defend his belt against Rick Hawn on September 19th. A win might make him one of the few to see a third shot for the world’s biggest promotion.


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