9. Sergei Kharitonov
Russian heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov has made a big impression in a number of high-profile MMA organizations over the years, but alas, not the UFC.
Kharitonov’s career began with back-to-back one-night tournament wins in the Ukraine and Russia, which quickly led to him being picked up by PRIDE, where he’d prove to be a force to be reckoned with by compiling an 8-3 record.
The well-traveled veteran has also fought for Strikeforce, Bellator, DREAM, Heroes and Rings, and over the course of his overall 23-6 record, he’s defeated big-name stars like Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum, Pedro Rizzo and Semmy Schilt – beating many by strikes.
A fighter with a proven propensity for violence like Kharitonov seems like a perfect fit for the UFC, and indeed when Strikeforce folded, the Russian ace’s contract was handed over to ZUFFA.
However, Kharitonov was caught in the crossfire in 2011 when UFC President Dana White fell out with his management team Golden Glory, leading to the Russian being released from his contract through no fault of his own without ever having fought in the UFC.