As we have seen with Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva, the best can't always stay on top. Eventually someone will have to take their place. These six fighters are the brightest looking stars that could make an impact in tomorrow's UFC.
They haven't looked perfect in every fight but they keep progressing in their skills and some of them could very well be challenging for a title soon. I'm not saying that they will be the next Georges St-Pierre or Anderson Silva but they may very well be at the top of their division someday. Now some of these fighters are not young, or very exciting, but they have the wins piling up, which is what matters most.
Notable Wins: Efrain Escudero
Notable Losses: Jim Miller
The submission ace, Charles Oliveira, holds a very good 14-1-0 (1) record, although his latest win was overturned because of an illegal knee, Oliveira has looked better in each of his UFC wins. Even though he has had setbacks in his last two fights, with the No contest against Nik Lentz, and a respectable loss to the excellent Jim Miller. The 21-year-old still has many years of fighting left in him which is a scary thing to consider since he is already looking like a top-level fighter.
His win against The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 winner, Efrain Escudero, has proved to be the biggest win of his career yet. I expect to him to bounce back from his recent setbacks to have more successes inside the octagon.
Notable Wins: Phil Baroni
Notable Losses: Aaron Simpson
Before a recent loss to Aaron Simpson at UFC 132, Brad Tavares was on a seven-fight win streak that included an impressive first-round KO of Phil Baroni which showed off his vicious knees and an impressive chin. Also his recent loss to Simpson shouldn't be a big knock against him since he took the fight on short notice.The fight also showed that he needs to work on his takedown defense for him to take the next big step.
Notable Wins: Nate Diaz
Notable Losses: Carlos Condit
This 21-year-old Canadian born prospect has showed an all around game in his recent fights. But what makes him even scarier than that is he trains at Tristar Gym with the likes of Welterweight Champion George St-Pierre and Featherweight contender Kenny Florian. In his UFC debut he submitted Mike Guymon by an armbar with only three seconds left in the first round.
In his second fight inside the octagon, Rory MacDonald showed great heart in a loss against now contender Carlos Condit,which won him a fight of the night bonus. Despite the loss he came back very strong against Nate Diaz which was a fight that was completely dominated by MacDonald. He showcased tremendous takedowns and very good stand-up against a fighter, who most people going into the fight thought would win the stand-up and in turn would win the fight.
This is the fighter that I'm most excited on this list, to watch in the future because of his toughness, young age and great all-around game. He will be back in the octagon against a very tough opponent in Mike Pyle at UFC 133.
Notable Wins: Joey Beltran, Kimbo Slice (?)
Notable Losses: None
Matt Mitrione is probably most notable for his stint on the reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, where he looked like a complete nut job.But let me assure you he is the real deal. With great athleticism from playing football at Purdue University, all of "Meathead"s win have come in the UFC and only one of them has gone the distance.
Mitrione has great stand-up but we really haven't gotten an in depth look at the rest of his game. What we do know though is he has mediocre takedown defense, as shown in his fight against the overwhelmed Christian Morecraft, and he keeps his hands low when the fight is standingt. Both of those flaws could be highlighted in his upcoming fight against the always dangerous Cheick Kongo at UFC 137. This is going to be a very interesting matchup for Mitrione because we will finally get to see how he stacks up in the Heavyweight division.
Notable Wins: Josh Grispi
Notable Losses: None
Dustin Poirier is, in all honesty, a fighter I don't know much about. All I do know is from what I saw in his fight against Josh Grispi.
If you haven't heard this story yet, Grispi had received a title shot against Jose Aldo. Aldo got injured before the fight took place. So instead of waiting he took a fight against Poirier, who was making his UFC and Featherweight debut. Wrong choice. Grispi got completely dominated all three rounds from the stand-up of Poirier. I didn't need to say it, but Grispi didn't get his title shot and Dustin Poirier's stock exploded. He did win a fight since then against Jason Young. Hopefully, we will get another chance to see him against another high-profile fighter so we can learn more about him.
Notable Wins: Ricardo Romero, Fabio Maldonado
Notable Losses: Tom Lawlor
Another Ultimate Fighter alum and college football athlete, Kyle Kingsbury is owner of two Fight of the Night awards and a four-fight win streak in the UFC that includes an impressive TKO of the tough Ricardo Romero. Although he had a rocky start to his UFC career with a unanimous decision loss to Tom Lawlor, Kingsbury is on a roll with his most recent win against Fabio Maldonado.
Kingsbury has shown great stand-up and power against Romero, and great toughness and clinch work against the boxer Maldonado. He has improved in each of his bouts, and is quickly becoming a very good all-around fighter.