Tarec Saffiedine may have one belt around his waist, but it appears as if the Strikeforce welterweight champion wants to add another to his collection. Saffiedine recently expressed interest in unifying the Strikeforce title with its UFC counterpart.

“It’s definitely my goal, but I have to take it one step at a time,” Saffiedine told BJPenn.com.  “Ultimately, it will lead me to the UFC belt. It’s inevitable. It will happen. I know with my skill set and motivation that I will take the UFC belt too.”

It’s good that Saffiedine has that mindset, because he is out of his mind if he expects to jump the line to get a crack at Georges St-Pierre.

Although Saffiedine is the last Strikeforce welterweight champion, his resume is hardly that of a world title contender in the UFC. The Team Quest fighter looked great in taking out Nate Marquardt, there’s no doubt about that. But just take a look at the rest of the guys he’s beaten and you’ll quickly see that Marquardt’s name is the only one of worth.

Saffiedine is a quality prospect who’s shown he’s a capable fighter. That much is clear after his performance against a very good fighter and former UFC contender like Marquardt. However, it would be nice to see Saffiedine face some top-10 competition in the UFC prior to coming anywhere near a title shot. After all, let’s not forget Saffiedine’s hype train was effectively derailed after his loss to Tyron Woodley in January of 2011. Obviously Saffiedine has grown as a fighter since then, but is anyone ready to say he can handle the wrestling of some of the upper-level welterweights?

This writer is not prepared to say he’s in the mix, but he deserves a top-10 opponent in his UFC debut. The Strikeforce title held little meaning and isn’t comparable to the Pride FC titles, so there isn’t any need to unify the titles. Instead, Saffiedine should debut against a guy like Martin Kampmann, who is currently without an opponent. Kampmann is coming off a loss, but before that he was read hot and the striking battle between Kampmann and Saffiedine would be an instant “Fight of the Night” candidate.

If not Kampmann, then Rory MacDonald is an opponent that makes sense. MacDonald is coming off a high-profile win over B.J. Penn, but he is still without a victory over a top-10 opponent.  He was scheduled to face Carlos Condit before an injury forced him out of action, and now that Condit has lost two straight, it’s doubtful that the UFC or the Canadian prospect wants anything to do with that match-up.

A final name to throw out there is Robbie Lawler. The former Strikeforce fighter pulled off quite an upset in his return to the Octagon by defeating Josh Koscheck. Lawler was once a hot prospect, like Saffiedine is now, and would provide a big name for Saffiedine to build his own upon, or it could conversely push Lawler into the top 10 if he were to win.

The UFC has a number of avenues to take with Saffiedine. Even though his resume isn’t all that great, he has earned a chance to prove himself against a top competitor. The UFC welterweight title picture became a bit clearer after UFC 158. Due to a number of injuries suffered by some of the top welterweights, Saffiedine may be forced to sit on the sidelines a bit more, depending on who he wants to face. Regardless of when he debuts, however, the UFC will have an entertaining prospect to showcase.

Photo: Tarec Saffiedine (Jerry Chavez/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.