It's no secret that Georges St-Pierre is the biggest MMA superstar from Canada. It's not even close. And that's why the UFC has a problem on its hands.
The UFC has announced plans to visit Canada three times in 2012, with St-Pierre hopefully making a return from his ACL injury to fight on at least one of the cards. That leaves two other fight cards that will be lacking a Canadian star to carry the load of being the main event.
Five potential fighters have shown enough promise in their UFC careers to have the ability to reach that superstar status and join St-Pierre as a Canadian fighter who can sell tickets.
St-Pierre is only one fighter, and as his ACL injury has shown, anything can happen not only inside the Octagon but outside it as well. Should St-Pierre be unable to compete this year—or just for future UFC cards in Canada—the UFC will need fighters like the ones on this list to step up their game.
Mark Bocek is one of Canada's most accomplished Brazilian jiu-jitsu artists. His jiu-jitsu skills have helped him land two Submission of the Night awards, with one of them coming against another jiu-jitsu wizard in Dustin Hazelett.
Bocek had won four straight in the UFC before being defeated by perennial contender Jim Miller at UFC 111. Since then, Bocek has alternated wins and losses with a victory over Hazelett and a loss to now-champion Benson Henderson.
In his last bout, Bocek dominated Nik Lentz en route to a unanimous decision victory.
One of the younger Canadian stars who could become a very popular fighter in 2012 is John Makdessi. A USKBA gold medalist in 2006, Makdessi has some of the flashiest standup in the lightweight division.
Makdessi made an instant impact with UFC fans in his UFC debut against Pat Audinwood. Makdessi gained even more fans with his spinning back-fist KO of Kyle Watson at UFC 129.
The Canadian fighter couldn't handle the aggressive onslaught of Dennis Hallman at UFC 140, but Makdessi will look to rebound at UFC 145.
Sam "Hands of Stone" Stout has been a mainstay in the UFC's lightweight division for years. Possessing a fan-friendly style, Stout earned three consecutive Fight of the Night bonuses in 2009-10.
Recently, Stout obtained his first Knockout of the Night award by dropping Yves Edwards with a thunderous punch that sent the veteran collapsing to the canvas.
Besides having a very exciting style, Stout is also involved with some charity work outside the Octagon and could very easily be transformed into one of Canada's next great MMA star.
A top-10 featherweight, Mark Hominick made a huge impact in his first two UFC bouts. The first came against former teammate George Roop for a crack at the new UFC Featherweight title.
Although he lost the bout on the judge's scorecards, Hominick arguably won the "popular vote" by gaining a ton of fans with his performance against Jose Aldo. The kickboxing champion displayed his trademark standup combined with some improved wrestling and incredible heart.
Hominick was dropped just seven seconds into his bout with Chan-Sung Jung at UFC 140. "The Machine" will look to rebound at UFC 145 when he steps back into the Octagon.
Easily one of the most coveted prospects in all of MMA, Rory MacDonald is set to become a household name by the end of 2012.
MacDonald was on his way to becoming a huge hit with fans by dominating Carlos Condit for 2.5 rounds, but a late surge by Condit allowed him to emerge victorious. MacDonald would rebound in a big way by absolutely manhandling Nate Diaz at UFC 129.
After defeating Mike Pyle at UFC 133, MacDonald was forced out of his scheduled bout at UFC 140 due to an injury but will return for UFC 145.