Flashback to 2005. Our lives didn't revolve around social media, people actually liked Lebron James, and it seemed like an eternity between UFC events. Now in 2012, a week without a UFC elicits a sigh of relief from even the most astute MMA fan.
As the UFC has grown at such a remarkable pace so has the sport of Mixed Martial Arts as a whole. There are an abundance of events going on around the world on a daily basis, and there are more prospects that are rising through the ranks than ever before.
I'm sure there is enough on your plate with all of the events that UFC, Strikeforce, and Bellator have to offer, so I'll keep you updated with all of sport's top prospects. We'll start with six promising young guns that had their hands raised this past week (June 1-2).
It's been awhile since Miletich MMA has had a prominent fighter in the spotlight and Trey Houston may represent the camp's best chance of having one again. Houston blew away Brandon McDowell, a veteran of 67 professional fights, at XFL 7 this Saturday in just 11 seconds with powerful punches. He is a well-rounded fighter with power in his punches as well as strong take-downs and a slick submission game.
Takasuke Kume (13-1-4) - Lightweight
For those looking for the next Shinya Aoki or Hatsu Hioki, look no further then Takasuke Kume. The 27 year-old training partner of Hioki has reeled off seven straight submission victories after his lone defeat in 2010. Kume's last victim was Koji Nakamura at Pancrase - Progress Tour 7. Although his stand-up needs some work, there is no denying the fact that Kume possesses a dangerous submission game that is fueled by his clever transitions.
Alexei Kudin (14-4) - Heavyweight
No fighter had a more impressive week-end than Alexei Kudin who won not one... not two... but three fights at the Russian MMA Championship event. Kudin defeated Oleg Tinins and Tadas Rimkevicius in the first two rounds of the eight man heavyweight tournament in TKO fashion, and then was able to beat the human highlight reel that is Konstantin Gluhov on the judge's scorecards. Ranked No. 3 on Leland Rolling's 2012 Heavyweight Scouting Report, Kudin has an elite stand-up game, but in order for him to be a top heavyweight his defensive grappling game must improve vastly.
Conor McGregor (11-2) - Featherweight
Fans of Cage Warriors would probably agree with the sentiment that Conor McGregor has the ability to compete in the UFC featherweight division. Known for his powerful strikes, McGregor's was able to submit Dave Hill after he knocked down his opponent with his stand-up. McGregor left the Cage Warriors 47 event with more than his first submission victory; he left with the Cage Warriors Featherweight Championship. With all of the positives that the young Irishmen has had thus far, one can only imagine the kind of success the heavy-handed featherweight will enjoy in his career.
Demarte Pena (4-0) - Featherweight
Demarte Pena only has four professional fights under his belt, but those four fights have been tremendous challenges that have shown that Pena is a legitimate prospect. Fighting in one of South Africa's top promotions, EFC, Pena defended his EFC Featherweight Championship in fight that saw him exhibit his grit by weathering the storm of Wesley Hawkey. Pena submitted Hawkey in the fourth round in his first championship defense with a rear-naked choke. Pena's success revolves around his ability to take his opponents down and destroy their will with constant pressure and grappling attacks.
Chas Skelly (8-0) - Featherweight
A foot injury sidelined the Team Takedown product for over two years, but the undefeated featherweight didn't show signs of a lay-off in his return to the sport as he submitted Jeremy Myers with a brabo choke at XFO 15. Now that Skelly has returned to his old self, it's time for him to fight a guy that has a better record than 3-6. Skelly is a great wrestler with an excellent shot that would take down a lot of guys in the featherweight division. Now that Skelly has a clean bill of health, I'd suspect in the near future to see Skelly sign with either the UFC or Bellator.
There were more than six fighters with victories over the week-end that caught my attention, but they just didn't make the initial cut. For those interested, here are some of the fighters I considered to put on the list.
Fighters I Considered: Hunter Tucker (3-0) - defeated J.R. Sotelo, Michel Richard Dos Prazeres (16-0) defeated Leandro Silva, Costa Ioannou (5-0) defeated Adam Speechly, and Marcin Tybura (5-0).