UFC in 2012: Which UFC Fighter Will Be the Next Jon Jones?

Matt Saccaro@@mattsaccaroContributor IIIJanuary 12, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 30:  Mixed martial artist Jon Jones arrives at the Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2011 at the Palms Casino Resort November 30, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

There will be the rise of a new "Jon Jones"—a nigh invincible superhero—in 2012, and his name is Chris Weidman.

Just as the current UFC light heavyweight champion ran through the ranks of his division and captured the title, middleweight Weidman is beginning to rack up impressive victories. In 2012, Weidman will finally earn the recognition among MMA fans and pundits that he deserves; he will become the "Jon Jones" of the middleweight division.

How will this come to pass?

Weidman dominated veteran Alessio Sakara in his UFC debut—and the Long Islander didn't even have a full camp for that fight!

In his next two fights, he effortlessly choked out Canadian Jesse Bongfeldt and wild-man Tom Lawlor.

The cynic would now ask, "What does beating up journeymen really show us?"

It shows us Weidman's potential.

The man is an NCAA Division-I All-American wrestler and made it to the prestigious Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission grappling tournament after only one year of proper Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.

This phenomenal wrestling base plus world-class submissions give Weidman an edge over practically every other fighter in the division. Weidman can take down and submit strikers like Chris Leben and Brian Stann, he can stop submission specialists like Demian Maia and Rousimar Palhares from bringing the fight to the ground.

Weidman will also be at an advantage when fighting fellow middleweight wrestlers like Mark Munoz and Chael Sonnen because he trains under famed striking coach Ray Longo, who will take Weidman's striking to the next level.

Like the meteoric rise of Jon Jones, the rise of Chris Weidman will be the talk of MMA fans and websites throughout 2012. Because of his youth, skill set and training camp, he will dominate the middleweight division and become the 185-pound Jon Jones.