12-7-1 featherweight fighter George Roop has been tasked with welcoming highly-regarded Japanese fighter Hatsu Hioki into the UFC; the two will do battle this weekend at UFC 137.
A Shooto champion sporting an impressive record of 24-4-2 which is dotted with top-flight competition, Hioki is widely ranked as a top five 145-pounder. The 28-year-old is currently on a four-fight winning streak and is expected to do well in the UFC’s featherweight class. Though Roop respects his impending opponent and believes that he’s one of the better fighters in his weight class, he recently told MMAWeekly that he doesn’t see Hioki holding as high a position at featherweight as many others do.
“I think he’s a great fighter, I think he definitely earned his spot in the top ten rankings. I don’t believe he’s as high ranked as most people have him. I think there’s a few fighters that should be up there above him,” asserted Roop.
“I don’t think he’s overrated, but I think he’s over ranked. I think he’s ranked a little too high. I think there’s some guys that are definitely there before him. I think Erik Koch is better than him, Tyson Griffin is a serial killer, he just dropped down to the 145lbs. division. You’ve got a lot of guys that are overlooked in the rankings perspective.”
The two fighters will scrap it out this Saturday, October 29, on the main card of UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz, which will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. FightLine will be back on the night with live, ongoing coverage of the full fight card, so don’t forget to check back.