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02nd Feb 2017

Everyone’s freaking out after UFC removes top fighters from official rankings

No longer under contract.

Ben Kiely

There are three notable absentees in the new UFC rankings update and fans are getting worried.

While Kamari Usmanov, Albert Tumenov and Jared Cannonier will be delighted to have cracked the top 15 of their respective divisions, they’ll know their entries came as a result of the removal of three prominent fighters.

In the new update, number six-ranked Lorenz Larkin as well as Rick Story disappeared from the welterweight standings, while rising light heavyweight Misha Cirkunov was also taken out of the top 15.

Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie broke the news on Twitter, adding that the three fighters’ contracts had run out.

19-fight UFC veteran Story has notable wins over former champion Johny Hendricks, former Strikeforce king Tarec Saffiiedine, one-time title challenger Thiago Alves and he’s credited with handing SBG’s Gunnar Nelson his first ever professional loss. He fell victim to Donald Cerrone’s lethal combination in his last trip to the Octagon which marked the first time he had been finished by strikes in his career.

Larkin has just the solitary loss to Albert Tumenov in the UFC’s welterweight division, but is riding a two-fight win-streak, scoring wins over Jorge Masvidal and Neil Magny in his last two bouts. His removal didn’t come as much of a surprise as he had publicly stated his intention to test free agency, although it recently emerged that he couldn’t strike a deal with the UFC’s main rivals, Bellator.

The real head-scratcher among those three is Cirkunov. Here’s what next light heavyweight title challenger Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson had to say about the Canadian during a recent appearance on the MMA Hour.

“Besides DC, the one guy that has my attention is – what’s his name – Misha mishka? Yeah, that dude’s a beast. I like his style and he’s built like a brick house, you know what I mean? I think his ass is gangster.”

“I don’t think he’s close (to a title shot), but he’s definitely somebody you’ve got to watch out for… definitely somebody you’ve got to watch out for.”

Cirkinov has racked up eight straight wins, with four of those victories coming via submission or knockout inside the UFC’s Octagon. Considering the dearth of contenders in that weight class, the decision to lett his contract run out took a lot of people by surprise.

It is important to note that these fighters could potentially re-sign with the UFC, but they are currently not under contract with the promotion.

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