The fighters who made the UFC what it is today are all reaching the peaks of their careers. Randy Couture was defeated a few weeks back for his heavyweight title, and he is currently 45-years-old. Chuck Liddell got knocked-out in his last fight, a fight many people thought he would win. Finally, Tito Ortiz, a fighter who is still in his prime at only 33-years-old but with a baby coming into the house and the fact that he is currently all-over the place in contract terms could we see Tito fight in the next year? Who will replace these fighters as the ones that continue to promote the business and bring in the big numbers at PPV events? There are many possibilities, but I have come up with a list of a few people who could bring the UFC the big numbers in the future.
Anderson Silva is an obvious choice. He has stated that he will retire in 2009, but if the man continues to fight, he could be the bread winner for the UFC. Anderson has a great fanbase, he is an amazing fighter, and he still could potentially conquer the light-heavyweight division before moving back down to middleweight for a final title defence. If Anderson Silva insists on retiring next year though, the UFC could still have a major final fight on its hands if they worked at it. I do believe a GSP, Anderson Silva fight could, if worked right, bring in over a million PPV buys. One million is a lot of people, but if promoted right this fight could have a lot of potential.
Georges St. Pierre
He went through a little rough patch but he has regained the UFC Welterweight World Championship and he will be defending it at the end of January. GSP is an obviously the man that draws most of the viewers from Canada when his fights are on. Just take, for example, his fight with Matt Serra (second time), that fight is one of the highest grossing PPV shows for the UFC. It sold appx. 650,000 easily putting the show in the UFC’s top five. B.J. Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre could be a massively sold fight. The UFC are already promoting it with the fighters making visits to Toronto and various other places in Canada and the US. Once that fight is all said and done though, and providing GSP wins the UFC should set up a fight between him and Anderson Silva as stated above. To be honest, the UFC welterweight division sucks right now, so a fight with Silva could be the only way around it for a few more months.
Forrest is a cool guy; he had one of the greatest MMA fights in history when he won The Ultimate Fighter and he is the current Light-Heavyweight Champion. He has a challenge at UFC 92 in the undefeated Rashad Evans. If Forrest could beat Rashad Evans and retain the title, he could go on to bigger things. The UFC need to start promoting Griffin in the mainstream media so they get his name out there and in turn he will bring in the big numbers for future UFC events. There is no doubt in my mind that Forrest could be one of the major names in MMA within the next five years. For Forrest Griffin to be that major name though, he would have to beat the already established ones. If the UFC could get a fight set-up between Griffin and Henderson, that could do well amongst the already established MMA fans but a fight between Griffin and Liddell could bring in some new fans and hopefully get them hooked on this amazing sport. Another possibility would be to bring Tito Ortiz back and let him have a shot at Griffin. Once again that fight could bring in some new fans and if Griffin beats him those new fans could have found a favourite fighter leading to bigger numbers at UFC events.
Of course there are many other fighters which could become amazing stars with the right promotion and a fair share of good fighting. Some that come to mind are Rashad Evans, Amir Sadollah, Lyoto Machida, and Junie Browning. The reason I picked Junie right there was because he has potential despite his craziness. Junie did bring in quite a lot of viewers to the show with his violence in the opening episodes. If you think I missed anyone or have your own opinion leave a comment for us to take a look at!