10 Fighters Who Could Become the Face of UFC on FOX
Recently, the world's leading mixed martial arts organization, the UFC, inked a seven-year contract with television juggernaut FOX.
Now that these two power companies are in bed together for the foreseeable future, the possibilities are endless for the expansion of the two brands.
Recently, the UFC wrapped their second show on the network, with preliminary ratings showing another strong performance as far as viewership is concerned.
In the continued effort for growth, here are 10 fighters who can capture the attention of the public, earning larger numbers for the respective companies whilst cultivating a large fan following.
The Diaz Brothers
Without a doubt, the FOX execs will have a hard time censoring these two men on live television, though it will all prove worth it in the end.
Both Nick and Nate Diaz are regarded not only as one of the best in their respective divisions, but the dynamic duo are also unarguably two of the most exciting fighters in the sport, thanks to their non-stop, aggressive approach come fight time.
The younger Diaz will have his first shot on FOX this May as he takes on fellow contender Jim Miller in the UFC's third endeavor on the network.
The greatest thing about Chael Sonnen is not just that he talks an obscene amount of trash, but the man has the goods to back it up, too.
The enigmatic middleweight has long been regarded as a middle-of-the-pack kind of fighter, that is before the Oregon native began a tirade of verbal assaults directed towards pound-for-pound great Anderson Silva.
Since then, Sonnen has captured the attention of the mixed martial arts community and has already ascended the ranks towards a shot at the belt, where he turned in a "Fight of the Night" performance, dominating the Brazilian before getting caught in a late submission.
This heavy-hitting heavyweight has seen and done it all in the combat sports world, though a UFC title still eludes him.
After capturing the Strikeforce heavyweight title with a dominant performance against former UFC contender Paul Buentello and defending it against Brett Rogers, Overeem ventured overseas, where he ventured into K-1.
Participating in the organization's World Heavyweight Grand Prix, "The Demolition Man" bested a field of 16 of the most accomplished kickboxers in the world, knocking out the legendary Peter Aerts in the finals, capturing the title in exciting fashion.
Now, Overeem sits atop the heavyweight class, next taking on UFC champion Junior dos Santos later this summer.
Junior Dos Santos
This Brazilian is fairly familiar with the FOX brand.
Dos Santos made his debut with the sports network last November when he and then champion Cain Velasquez served as the first and only televised bout of the event.
The championship tilt lasted all of 64 seconds, as the crushing power of "Cigano" proved too much for Velasquez, who succumbed to strikes inside of the first round.
Now regarded as the best in his class, Dos Santos' striking acumen and air of confidence is a dangerous mixture for anyone to try and tangle with.
There's a reason why Anderson Silva is regarded not only as the best in the middleweight division, but the best in the world.
The dynamic Brazilian has lots of tools at his disposal. After cultivating his striking skills with the Chute Boxe crew, then headed by famed trainer Rafael Cordeiro, Silva began to work on his submission prowess with the likes of jiu-jitsu specialists in the Nogueira brothers.
Since then, Silva become the UFC's 185-pound champion, defeating the likes of Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen and Forrest Griffin—finishing all before the final bell.
The featherweight spitfire is slowly but surely becoming one of the most sought-after fighters in the world, especially after his performance a few weeks ago.
In his adopted home of Rio de Janeiro, Aldo knocked out top contender Chad Mendes inside of the first round. The victory prompted the Brazilian to dive into the attending crowd.
Foolish as far as fan safety is concerned, Aldo recorded arguably one of the most memorable moments in UFC history, celebrating with his fellow countrymen, who hoisted their champion proudly upon their shoulders.
The kingpin of the 205-pound class, Jon Jones' 2011 is a clear indication that the dynamic fighter can do just about anything he sets his mind to.
Beginning the year as a budding contender, Jones quickly ascended the ranks with a submission victory over then-undefeated fighter Ryan Bader. Next, Jones stepped in for an injured Rashad Evans, taking on champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128 last March.
There, "Bones" Jones dominated the Brazilian, controlling him both on the feet and on the ground, stopping him with strikes in the third.
Soon after, Jones defended his crown against former champions Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida, submitting both before the final bell.
Former WEC lightweight champion Benson Henderson entered the UFC in 2011 with a loss, though he's now emerged 3-0 in the organization and has become the lightweight division's next top contender.
A dominant victory over Mark Bocek opened up Henderson to the masses, though it was an equally, if not more decisive win over then-top contender Jim Miller that truly endeared "Smooth" to the public.
Soon after, the wily 155-pounder was matched up against Clay Guida in a No. 1 contender battle last November.
The duo turned in a worthy "Fight of the Night" performance after three rounds of rollicking, non-stop action ensued. Arguably, it's the greatest fight that most people have never seen, since the two were regulated to the preliminary portion of the event, as Dos Santos and Velasquez eclipsed the FOX fight.
Like Henderson, this rusty ol' tobacco-chewing "Cowboy" has gone from the WEC and become of the UFC's top lightweight contenders.
Donald Cerrone debuted in the organization last February with a submission victory over veteran Paul Kelly. Though the win was truly an eye-opening experience for most, Cerrone continued to wow the attending crowds with his high pace, in-your-face approach, later squashing notables Charles Oliveira and Dennis Siver inside of the first round.
Eventually, Cerrone succumbed to the striking acumen of Nate Diaz this past December, though even in defeat, the Greg Jackson product still managed to earn "Fight of the Night" for his performance.
FOTN has become commonplace for Cerrone—who holds a staggering nine bonus awards whilst under the Zuffa banner.