The present day stars of the UFC and mixed martial arts include "The Notorious" Conor McGregor, Jon Jones, Ronda Rousey. This article, however, will take an in-depth look into the next generation of potential stars in combat sports.
Coming off his spectacular head-kick knockout of Andre Fili at UFC 197, Yair Rodriguez has been nothing short of a sensation since making his UFC debut in 2014.
Being a blackbelt in Taekwondo, he has the potential to put together crazy combinations, usually ending in some sort of kick either to the body or head, meaning he can almost certainly KO anyone in the UFC's Featherweight division.
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His Jiu Jitsu isn't exactly amateur either but short of world championship quality, given the fact he's only 23 years of age, time is definitely on his side. Training out of JacksonWink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he spars daily with the likes of Jon Jones, Holly Holm, Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis. The sky is definitely the limit for the young Mexican.
Arguably the most hyped prospect in the history of the UFC is "Super" Sage Northcutt. Scouted on UFC President Dana White's reality show "Looking' for a fight" everyone is expecting big things from this young man.
His last fight didn't go to plan, however, a submission loss to Bryan Barbarena at UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Bader was definitely a minor setback in his young career but being 20 years old mean he has a lot of time to improve his skills.
He is explosive, strong, quick, a great athlete and possesses the charisma to be a huge star in the future. He's also training with the like's of UFC great Georges St. Pierre, No.2 Welterweight contender Rory MacDonald and world class trainer Faraz Zahabi at Tri-Star gym in Montreal, Canada. Definitely one to watch!
Cody "No Love" Garbrandt is probably the hardest hitter on the list. He is currently 8-0 in his MMA career and his finished all but one via KO or TKO including his impressive first round KO of Augusto Mendes at UFC on Fox: Cowboy vs. Cowboy which opened people's eyes of what a true prospect he really is.
In a division dominated by either his mentor Uriah Faber or his friend-turned-enemy TJ Dillashaw he really does have his work cut out for him but with power like his and being part of such a great gym like Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California he definitely has the potential to reach the highest heights of the sport.
The only woman to grace this list is certainly an impressive one. "Thug" Rose started her UFC career with a loss to Carla Esparza on The Ultimate Fighter Finale in 2014 but since then, she is unbeaten in three fights, finishing all of them and is the third-ranked fighter in the women's Strawweight division.
Rose has exceptional BJJ skills, ending five of her seven fights via submission but that's not to say she is a one-dimensional fighter. She dominated Paige Vanzant and Tecia Torres with her quick, awkward footwork and heavy hands. A title shot may still be too early for her but if anyone is to beat champ Joanna Jędrzejczyk in the future it is "Thug" Rose Namajunas.
Of course, there are more prospects coming up in the UFC but in terms of hype, talent, and potential, these guys are definitely up there with the best. If you think we missed someone, leave a comment at the bottom with a little paragraph on why you think they belong on this list.
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