Theres alot of talk about the new breed of fighters coming in and taking over the old guard like at welterweight with Jake Ellenberger, Johnny Hendricks, and Carlos Condit passing by Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, Diego Sanchez etc. But these fighters while generally young have surpassed become elite fighters in their own right and now i want to take a look at the new crop of prospects that are in the UFC and take a poll of who everyone thinks will actually make an impact on the division. I will only really pick the prospects who I feel will make it but feel free to comment any that i may have missed.
The first fighter i want to look at is Stipe Miocic. At 6'4 and 240 pounds, he is a former division 1 wrestler and former Golden Gloves champion. He is not exactly to young at the age of 29 but in terms of his MMA career, he definitely qualifies as a hot prospect for the heavyweight division in my eyes. His wrestling is very solid and allows him to work his striking which although overrated, still packs a big wallop. He also showed he has a very good chin and can take a big shot and and return fire. Can he be a champion one day? My feelings about him are mixed. He has potential to be a solid top ten guy as i think he has a speed advantage on most heavyweights and his wrestling will allow him to dictate where the fight takes place. His major issue is cardio and if he can fix that, then Stipe can go really far in the current heavyweight landscape.
The second fighter who i would like to look at is Ronny Markes. He is a very large middleweight who cut down from light heavyweight after dominating Karlos Vemola and completely outgrappling the 6 time Czech national wrestling champion. At the young age of 23, Markes has a very high potential to make a big impact on the division. With the lack of depth at middleweight, he made a very smart decision by dropping down. His last showing against Aaron Simpson left alot to be desired and may have slowed the excitement circling him but he showed he can gut out a grinding fight with a less then full gas tank. Despite his last performance, Markes is a beast and I think he can really rise to the top of the division especially when he is training with that group of killers known as Team Nova Uniao. Keep an eye on Ronny Markes.
The third fighter i would like to look at is Erick Silva. After completely decimating Luis Ramos in :40 seconds at UFC 134, the hype train around Silva gathered serious steam (the pun was to easy to pass up). He came in to his next fight with high expectations against a tough veteran in Carlos Prater. :30 seconds into the fight, Carlos lay on the ground turtled up with Silva flipping around the cage after another dominating performance which would be soiled by an awful call by Mario Yamasaki. Had it not been for that, Silva would have completely destroyed two tough opponents of increasing skills in barely more then a minute. At age 27, with blinding speed, dangerous and aggressive striking and a blackbelt in BJJ to boot, this prospect is definitely a future top ten fighter in my opinion with a high possibility to become a champion.
Im gonna eat supper now but i would like to add more fighters such as:
Ok now i am able to write some more. Lets start with Edson Barboza. Coming off that insanely awesome spinning heel kick to the head of Terry Etim that will live forever in the hearts of every MMA fan. Aside from that, Barboza is a solid prospect with insane potential. He has shown he can stay in the pocket and take a hit in his fight with Ross Pearson and his takedown defense has held up very well so far although he has yet to face a very good wrestler. His striking skills are amazing and until we see anyone put him on his back, i dont see a reason to think he will lose any fight standing at this point.
The next prospect i want to discuss is Jimmy Hettes. His performance against Nam Phan was incredible to watch. He completely dominated and outgrappled a Bjj blackbelt and i am so high on this guy its crazy and at 24, he is only going to get better. I cant remember the last time a single minded fighter like that succeed. He is a force and his next fight should be a nice step up i think. Gotta love grappling i say.
The final prospect i want to talk about is Mike Easton. This 28 year old powerhouse grappler is a blackbelt in Bjj under Llyod Irvin. Although out of all the prospects, i think he has the least chance to get to the top of the division, i feel like he can be a longtime top ten fighter in the bantamweight division. Personally i think that Michael McDonald is a better fighter but i think McDonald has surpassed the level of prospect at this point.
On another note i could not think of any Light heavyweights who can fill the role of hot prospects like in the other divisions.
Let me know what you guys think and feel free to GIF away. Hope you all enjoyed.