7 UFC Fighters with the 'Hottest Hands' Right Now

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2014

7 UFC Fighters with the 'Hottest Hands' Right Now

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    In the world of competitive mixed martial arts, it's often key to possess a hot hand.

    Not in the sense of having blazing-fast punches but rather the in-cage consistency and international popularity that fuel opportunity.

    Because opportunity is everything in a sport ruled by "the next best thing." It allows certain fighters to escape divisional depth by riding win streaks, media-driven exposure or memorable Octagon performances.

    That's the type of "hot hands" we're talking about.

    Here are seven fighters in the UFC right now who stand considerably tall in that department.

Myles Jury

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    It's time to give Myles Jury the credit and divisional recognition he deserves.

    As a guy who remains undefeated in the UFC at 5-0 (13-0 overall), including wins over Diego Sanchez and rising star Michael Johnson, the 25-year-old is often overlooked for unforeseen reasons.

    At this point in his career, Jury should be one of the more feared lightweights in the UFC. He's young, lean and gifted on the feet and on the ground, and he never seems to fade when the going gets tough. 

    With a personality to match his skill, it's only a matter of time before "Fury" really takes off.

    Not to mention he recently sneaked into the division's top 10 at No. 8.

Luke Rockhold

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    Luke Rockhold's promotional debut opposite Vitor Belfort is a distant memory.

    Belfort has since faded into MMA obscurity, and Rockhold has shaken off his initial Octagon jitters to become one of the more impressive fighters of 2014 thus far.

    With back-to-back first-round finishes over former top contenders Costas Philippou and Tim Boetsch, the very popular 29-year-old has found a home in a drastically evolving middleweight division.

    Once Rockhold recovers from a toe injury suffered in his most recent victory, he'll have no trouble getting back to battering inferior athletes unable to defend his brutal kickboxing and strong grappling skills.

    Let's hope the UFC grants him a rematch with Belfort so fans get the back-and-forth war they were hoping for the first time around.

Anthony Johnson

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    With only one win since his return to the UFC, Anthony "Rumble" Johnson is already throwing his name into title discussions.

    For a guy who has been labeled as one-dimensional at times, Johnson made top contender Phil Davis look like Kimbo Slice at UFC 172.

    It was a performance that not only displayed Johnson's ability to land punches on a more athletic opponent but also showed his ability to shut down one of the best wrestlers in the sport today.

    With maturity on his side and the overall appeal to fans who love to see bruising knockouts, Johnson is one of the hottest fighters in the game right now.

    Not to mention he has won seven in a row since his loss to Vitor Belfort back in 2012.

Donald Cerrone

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    PAUL BEATY/Associated Press

    It seems as if Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone has finally put it all together.

    No more mental issues, no more training issues, no more excuses. Cerrone has looked like a different man inside of the cage of late and is already on the short list for Fighter of the Year.

    Two unbelievable finishes over Brazilians Edson Barboza and Adriano Martins have fueled a career resurgence for the former WEC champion, one that only a few fighters ever experience.

    Cerrone's success and willingness to fight any lightweight at any time has not only raised his divisional stock, but it has transformed him into a bona fide fan favorite.

    If the 31-year-old can maintain his potency and brawler's mentality, there's no telling how big he can get in a promotion that favors gamers.

T.J. Dillashaw

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    Andre Penner/Associated Press

    T.J. Dillashaw went from a four-fight win streak to a split-decision loss to Raphael Assuncao to a one-fight win streak to an upcoming title fight with champion Renan Barao.

    That's what we call a roller-coaster ride.

    But what Dillashaw has maintained through all of it has been his athletic ability to get down and dirty with any fighter in the bantamweight division.

    From crisp striking to excellent cardio and wrestling, the 28-year-old has begun to transform into a budding star.

    If he is able to stick it to Barao on May 24 at UFC 173, then he'll become the first champion in the history of Team Alpha Male.

    That's pretty impressive.

Conor McGregor

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Conor Mcgregor is one smart dude.

    Outside of his natural ability to create artistic beauty inside of a cage, the Irish phenom has learned some very valuable skills in today's sport.

    He has not only shown the bravado and personality needed to become a fan favorite, but he has opened his mouth at all the right times, making him one of the most talked-about fighters in the UFC right now.

    That's always a good thing, for better or worse. Just ask Chael Sonnen.

    In any case, once McGregor is able to maintain health and get a shot at the top featherweights in the promotion, the sky is truly the limit.

    This of course is assuming that Cole Miller doesn't stop one of the biggest hype trains of all time when the two meet in July.

Matt Brown

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Matt Brown is what Clay Guida used to be.

    It has been a long tourney for Brown, but he has become one of the most popular fighters in the UFC today.

    Capable of turning a fight into a brawl in a matter of seconds, fans find it difficult to stay in their seats whenever "The Immortal" steps inside the Octagon.

    Add an outstanding chin, concrete hands and unflappable confidence to the mix, and you have one of the deadliest practitioners around.

    Brown's work has been rewarded with a well-deserved spot at No. 6 in the welterweight division, but his seven-fight win streak (five straight finishes) won't receive the recognition it deserves until the 33-year-old gets a shot at gold.

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