8 Young Fighters No MMA Veteran Wants to Face
Status is a very hard thing to gain and hold in the world of mixed martial arts. It takes years of training, plenty of sacrifice and many tough, tough wins. Once you gain the status as an established, successful veteran, you are soon marked by the young guns who would like nothing more than to take your spot.
Some veterans may try to hold on to their status a little longer than they should by refusing to accept the challenge of a hungry lion coming up in the ranks, and they are soon exposed as washed up.
Want to hold on to your status in the game?
Here are eight young fighters that no veteran wants to face.
8. Phil Davis
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Phil Davis is a young light heavyweight with an athletic, yet grinding wrestling style and poses a triple threat to any veteran sitting above him in the pecking order.
The first thing with Davis is that his game is going to revolve around the take down and top smother, so you are going to have to sprawl, stuff and scramble for most of the fight to get your win. It is a tough haul, and you have to be in tip-top shape to deal with him.
The second thing is, although Davis is fairly established for his young age, a win over him is not going to boost you to new heights in your career. He is high risk and low reward.
The third thing is he wears pink shorts and no veteran wants to risk losing to a guy in pink tights.
7. Ben Askren
Courtesy / Bellator
Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren needs a challenge. I'm not saying things have come easy for the former NCAA wrestling standout because MMA training is one of the toughest things a guy can do. It takes sacrifice, toughness and determination.
Askren needs a challenge inside the cage on fight night and the problem is, no veteran fighter is interested in giving it to him.
I wouldn't want someone as filthy as Askren sweating and laying on top of me all night, and no established veteran wants to be in a boring boo-filled fight. it would be appealing if you could count on Askren standing and trading for a bit to see what's up but that is always a long shot in an Askren fight.
6. John Dodson
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
John Dodson is one of the most electric young fighters in the game.
And the worst thing about him is he knows it, flaunts it and struts and twitches around like the roadrunner. It is now you see him now you don't with Dodson and no veteran wants to be chasing some young kid around while he flies in and hits you then smiles at you.
He's like that little bugger in school that runs his mouth and taunts you, and there isn't a thing you can do about it because you can't catch the little water bug. His speed can really make you look silly, and his arrogant grin will drive you nuts.
I'm sure many veterans will say they want to get their hands on him, but I'm pretty sure they all know that it's easier said than done.
5. Jon Jones
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
I'm sure there are many fighters young and old that want the opportunity to take what Jon Jones has, but I'm not sure any veteran has a chance against him.
Jones has plowed through many of the very best veteran fighters in the sport like Lyoto Machida, Shogun Rua, Rashad Evans and Vitor Belfort, and Chael Sonnen will get the next shot.
It is going to take a new breed, young fighter to knock Jones off and veterans need not apply.
4. Tyron Woodley
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Young welterweight Tyron Woodley has come into the UFC with quite a bang with his 36 second knockout of Jay Hieron at UFC 156. Following that win, he expressed his interest in fighting fellow rising star Rory MacDonald (Courtesy of Sherdog.com).
Recent knockout aside, Woodley is another young, rising fighter who likes to bully and maul with a relentless wrestling game. His strength and athleticism is at the elite level but his name and resume is not quite up to the high reward category at this point.
A win over Woodley is a solid statement for a veteran looking to announce that he is still in the mix with the best welterweights in the world, but it isn't quite a ticket to a title shot.
That makes it too risky for an established veteran.
3. Michael McDonald
Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports
Young bantamweight Michael McDonald is already cutting a unique path for himself in the world of mixed martial arts. He is set to face Renan Barao for the interim title this weekend at UFC on Fuel TV for his chance to become the youngest champion in UFC history.
McDonald just makes it look so easy, and his knockout of Miguel Torres in his last fight put all the elite veterans on notice. They will probably want to wait a bit for some of the shine of invincibility comes off of McDonald before they pick a fight with him.
Right now, he looks like the bantamweight version of Jon Jones, and we all know what he has done to UFC veterans to this point in his career.
2. Ronda Rousey
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Newly crowned women's champion Ronda Rousey stated on UFC 157 Primetime, that no one in women's MMA would step up and take her on before Liz Carmouche was offered the opportunity.
The UFC has also been trying hard to get Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos to commit to making the required weight limit and signing on the dotted line. Rousey has already quickly tapped out two of the best female veterans in Sarah Kaufman and Julia Budd.
I guess none of the established women want to lose their arm any time soon.
1. Chris Weidman
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Does anyone want to fight this guy right now?
Weidman has not lost inside the cage in his first nine fights but this may be the best time to catch him, when he is coming off an injury and long layoff. Weidman has not fought since he destroyed veteran contender Mark Munoz last July.
Weidman is another one of these fighters who carries a large risk for a veteran name but knocking him off right now would be a very large feather in a cap. His hype train is one of the fastest moving in the UFC.
Other than Munoz, Weidman has also defeated veterans Alessio Sakara, Tom Lawlor and Demian Maia, and it may take another young lion to take him out before any established fighter wants a shot.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report UFC and regular contributor to Sportsnet.ca's UFC section. Follow him on Twitter @wakafightermma.