With a first-round submission win at UFC on FX 3 over wrestling powerhouse Charlie Brenneman, Erick Silva cemented his status as one of the best up-and-coming fighters in all of MMA and threw his hat into the Octagon for consideration as a future UFC welterweight champion.
While there are few that would question Silva's status as a top-notch prospect, there is at least one man who would raise an eyebrow at hearing proclamations of Silva's destiny to become champion.
That man's name is Rory MacDonald, and he is another fighter with designs on the welterweight throne.
At 31 years of age, current welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre is far from over the hill. He is certainly not an old man, and his dominant wrestling and advanced striking skills have allowed him to avoid taking too much damage to this point in his career, which means that he is not ready step aside and let Silva and MacDonald pick his bones clean.
But, GSP has spent the last year rehabbing a knee injury, which threatens to mitigate his future success.
Whether it comes sooner or later, St-Pierre will eventually lose or retire his welterweight championship, and when that day comes, there is a strong chance that it will pass either directly or through a third party to either Silva or MacDonald.
My question to all you readers is this: Who is more likely to take the torch from St-Pierre and become the next great welterweight champion?
Before answering, here are some things to consider.
Silva (27) has five years on MacDonald (22), though their fight experience is relatively equal: The Brazilian has 16 professional fights to his name, the Canadian has 14.
Each fighter has been defeated only a single time (One of Silva's losses came via disqualification in a fight he had all but won.), though Silva has never been stopped.
Silva owns a finishing rate of 79 percent, while MacDonald tops that with 92 percent.
The majority of Silva's wins have come by submission, though he has exhibited some very deadly striking during his time as a UFC fighter.
MacDonald has scored six knockouts, six submissions and one decision. Though MacDonald owns a more balanced record than Silva, both fighters are very well rounded.
One could make the argument that Silva's striking has looked superior to MacDonald's during each fighter's time in the UFC, as the former has floored all of his opponents with strikes, whereas MacDonald has been clipped hard by Che Mills and Michael Guymon and was stopped by Carlos Condit.
But, on the other hand, MacDonald does own twice the knockout stoppages that Silva has.
Arguments could be made either way for the grappling advantage, as both guys are very dangerous on the mat. Silva displayed an aggressive sweep-and-submission game in his recent win over Charlie Brenneman, while MacDonald has shown a methodical yet effective approach on the ground over his last several contests.
Perhaps the largest discrepancy in skill lies in wrestling, where MacDonald holds a firm advantage. Silva handled Brenneman's relentless takedowns quite well, but that does not put him on MacDonald's level.
Still, each fighter is very well rounded, very dangerous and very likely to be a key factor in the future of the welterweight division.
But which fighter will rise above the other?
Have your say in the poll and comments section.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!