Who's the Next Anderson Silva?

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2012

Who's the Next Anderson Silva?

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    Anderson Silva is the quintessential greatest fighter of all time.

    He's professional, possesses an array of skills and talents and most importantly, he's undefeated in the UFC.

    On top of that, the Brazilian is a polarizing figure who encompasses international responsibility.

    It makes sense that whenever a fighter is being held to a higher regard, it's alongside "The Spider."

    But Silva isn't going to be around forever.  He isn't going to grace us with excellence and perfection for too many more years.

    So who's next?  Who's the next Silva?  Here's who.

Jon Jones

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    Lets get the obvious one out of the way.

    Jon Jones has already been compared to Anderson Silva—and rightfully so.

    The 25-year-old is not only becoming the most transcendent fighter in the world, but he's doing so by destroying the very best light heavyweights around.

    At it stands right now, considering his age and evolving skill set, Jones has a chance to shatter Silva's record of 10-straight title defenses.  He could have four by the end of the year.

    Not to mention he would be doing so in a much deeper and more versatile division than Silva's middleweight stockpile.

    If you truly take into consideration the wins that Jones has produced inside the Octagon, as well as recently signing an international sponsorship deal with Nike, it's no secret that he's wildly known as Anderson Silva 2.0.

Junior dos Santos

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    People fail to realize that Junior dos Santos has never lost in the UFC.

    His record currently stands at 9-0, including career-defining finishes over Fabricio Werdum, Mirko Cro Cop, Cain Velasquez and most recently, Frank Mir.

    Dos Santos has become one of the best KO specialists in the entire world, let alone the UFC heavyweight division.

    His world-class boxing always seems to counter everything his opponent possesses and time and time again has rendered the judges useless.

    For these reasons, on top of being such a genuine person and respectable professional, dos Santos truly has a chance to become the next Anderson Silva.

    His name is already gaining ground in pay-per-view promotions, and with a country like Brazil behind him, the sky is the limit.

Renan Barao

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    Renan Barao may be a new face to many UFC fans, but when a guy racks off 29 professional wins in a row, he needs to be considered one of the best fighters on the planet.

    For Barao, a 25-year-old Brazilian who hasn't lost since his first career bout, defeating a household name like Urijah Faber at UFC 149 has really sparked his maturation in the MMA spotlight.

    People now know who he is.  They know what he brings to the Octagon on any given night and they're now aware that Barao is one of the UFC's most prized possessions.

    If he can kick his way past Dominick Cruz or the heavy-handed Michael McDonald, which ever comes first, he'll have a honest chance to make a run at international stardom and maintain bantamweight supremacy.

    His youth and pre-fight preparation have a chance to manifest his fairly fresh UFC career into a legendary tale of success.

Jose Aldo

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    Jose Aldo is already widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, if not the best.

    His work within the Zuffa organization, whether it be the WEC or UFC, has been mirrored by perfection.

    Posting a 12-0 record over the past four years, Aldo has secured himself a spot atop MMA's active Mt. Rushmore.

    Even at the young age of 25, the Brazilian has already compiled five title defenses, three of which came in the UFC against top contenders like Mark Hominick, Kenny Florian and Chad Mendes.

    He's big, powerful, explosive and arguably possesses the most talent that a 145-pound fighter ever has.

    If everything goes as planned, whether or not Frankie Edgar moves down to face him, Aldo should be the UFC's featherweight champion for a very long time.

Anthony Pettis

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    Anthony Pettis is the only non-champion on this list and there's a reason why.

    The UFC lightweight division is so stacked that "Showtime" just hasn't had his opportunity to shine.

    As the former-WEC lightweight champion, everybody already knows what Pettis is capable of doing.

    His off-the-wall head kick against Benson Henderson a few years back is arguably the most acrobatic and athletic move ever displayed inside a cage.

    Pettis possesses that type of talent.  He has what it takes to someday become champion and keep the belt for a long time.

    At 25 years old, which seems to be the prime age to make something happen in the sport of MMA, he has a unique opportunity to take over the UFC's deepest and most talent-rich division.

    Heck, if Pettis didn't lose to Clay Guida in his UFC debut, he may already be a titleholder.

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