Generation Next: Maximo Blanco

Justin FauxCorrespondent INovember 3, 2010

As mixed martial arts continues to grow more and more by the day, it becomes harder to find those special athletes that are one in a million, the ones that will go on to be Champions at their desired weight class and take the sport to new heights.

Maximo Blanco could be one of the best combatants outside of the UFC, and he is only 11 fights into his career and continues to better himself every time we see him.

Blanco first competed in the 2007 Pan American Games as a freestyle wrestler which earned him a Bronze Medal and created a lot of hype around his professional mixed martial arts debut.

After his impressive showing in the Pan American Games, Blanco got the opportunity to compete for Pancrase in Japan. The Venezuelan stand out's career began a little rocky; for his debut, he squared off against Japanese prospect Yuki Yashima.

Merely seconds into his first professional bout, Blanco slipped into an early triangle before lifting his opponent into the air and following up with some ground and pound; however, when he slammed Yashima, he head-butted him which forced the referee to declare the bout a no contest.

Blanco continued to compete in Pancrase for the next year and collected the Lightweight King of Pancrase Championship as well as notable victories over the Inoue brothers, Seigo and Katsuya.

While Blanco began to improve and catch the attention of other promoters, he began getting booked for World Victory Road's Sengoku which gives him more mainstream exposure due to their deal with HDnet.

In September of 2009, Blanco made his debut in Sengoku by stopping Tetsuya Yamada and followed it up by finishing Chang Hyun Kim with a vicious head kick in a little over one minute.

Then it was time to test this young prospect, Blanco was matched up with Rodrigo Damm. Damm is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with experience against notable opponents like Gilbert Melendez, Jorge Masvidal and Luciano Azevado.

Blanco stormed the gates at the beginning of the second round and disposed of Damm in 45 seconds, looking very impressive in the process.

This past Saturday, Blanco got matched up against Kiuma Kunioku. Kunioku is a veteran of 67 bouts and faces a "who's who" of mixed martial arts for instance Frank Shamrock, Bas Rutten, Guy Mezger, Evan Tanner, Nate Marquardt and Sean Sherk just to name a few.

Kunioku is 34 years old and nearing the end of his career, but with his skill set and experience, he is still dangerous to any opponent. Blanco disposed of Kunioku in a little over four minutes with a highlight reel knock out which could be a late contender for Knock Out of the Year.

Maximo Blanco is only two years into his career and is arguably one of the most entertaining and explosive combatants on the planet after only 11 fights so remember his name, take a note of it and don't be surprised if he's a big deal in the next few years.