Win or lose, don't sleep on Siyar Bahadurzada when he competes. Though it may prove a bit early to tell right now, the man possesses the makings of a future legend, and if anyone possesses the qualities needed to contend for the UFC welterweight title it's Bahadurzada.
The rise of many welterweights in itself scares the MMA world because of how quickly they elevate to title contention, but Bahadurzada's rise through the ranks scares in the manner of how it came more than it does in the sense of how quickly it happened.
Recall if you will the particulars of Bahadurzada's 21-4-1 record. Of the 21 wins, 11 of them come by a form of knockout, with four of those 11 wins coming by a straight-up knockout blow. Of course, we all remember how Bahadurzada patiently waited for his moment to strike against Paulo Thiago prior to knocking the Brazilian out cold.
However, the knockouts tell only part of the tale. Bahadurzada may go to the ground with Dong Hyun Kim tonight at UFC on Fuel TV 8, and if he does, he will have the opportunity to showcase what he can do on the ground, something few ever mention with Bahadurzada. Perhaps due to the results he achieves with his knockout power, people overlook that he owns six submission victories with five wins via a form of a submission hold.
In the past, Kim has shown that he can get taken down and controlled, and against a varied striking arsenal, he can find himself overwhelmed. As scary as Bahadurzada's knockout power proves in any fight, his more underrated aspects, which help him complete his game as a mixed martial artist, can bring a wild card to any one of his fights, where his opponents will surely prepare for a one-trick pony and wind up shocked as they succumb to defeat.
In a division dominated by welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre, a man long regarded as one of the sport's most complete fighters, excelling in every aspect of the sport proves a great deal of significance. Bahadurzada knows he will need to show his stuff in all aspects of the sport, but his ability to rise to the occasion and perform in those areas, even if he holds no fondness for submissions or decisions, will pay dividends as he eventually finds himself in the UFC welterweight title scene.
Win or lose against the smothering judoka Kim, Bahadurzada will prove it before he ends his time in the UFC. If not, he will definitely go down swinging in his attempt to prove his skeptics wrong.