Great talent always comes from every corner of the world, but only a handful of that talent actually breaks out and cements themselves as major players in the sport. Of the talent that breaks out, some ascend into prominence faster than others.
Ever since the retirement of former PRIDE heavyweight champion and all-time MMA great "The Last Emperor" Fedor Emelianenko, Russian MMA has done well enough to provide one of the best examples of such a situation. Through Bellator MMA and the UFC, talent from the Russian circuit found an outlet to demonstrate their skills to the world.
Of the current representatives for Russian MMA, a handful of them stand to break out into major players in their respective divisions before their careers end. We already know a number of fighters who showcased that potential in their past fights, but who holds the potential to break out next in representing Russia in mixed martial arts?
Enter an undefeated, 22-year-old welterweight prospect by the name of Andrey "Spartan" Koreshkov.
Currently 13-0, Koreshkov recently defeated inaugural Bellator welterweight champion Lyman Good to win the season-seven Bellator welterweight tournament and will challenge for Ben Askren's welterweight gold. However, undefeated records come and go, so many won't put that rhetoric on repeat.
The buzz around Koreshkov, and the reason why he looks poised to break out before some of his teammates earn their shine, concerns the youth of Koreshkov more than the record. Only 22 years exist on Koreshkov's tires, and yet, we find ourselves a long way from seeing the best Koreshkov that we'll ever see.
Scariest of all, even if he stops the wrestling of Askren and somehow dominates the title fight, we will not see the best that Koreshkov can present on any given night. He will still have all the time in the world to improve on the lacking aspects of his skill set.
Perhaps then, it makes sense to feel that, regardless of what happens against Askren, the kid possesses as bright a future as any fighter at any weight class. We know what he already brings to the table, as well as where he will need improvement, and the sooner we pay attention to these things, the more excited we can all get once the kid reaches his full potential.
After all, Koreshkov can give us plenty to talk about between now and the time we truly see him fighting at his full potential.