The Prospect Who Will Wear UFC Gold from Each Weight Division

G DAnalyst IIIDecember 12, 2011

The Prospect Who Will Wear UFC Gold from Each Weight Division

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    Before every mixed martial artist can enter the elite category of "greatness" they must first establish themselves as an up-and-coming fighter in their respected weight division.

    These up-and-coming fighters are often referenced as the prospects of mixed martial arts.

    Specifically in the UFC, every weight division has several of these prospects.

    And, while these mixed martial artists have yet to become legitimate contenders in their weight classes, they have a bright future ahead of them.

    If these individuals continue to work towards their goal of becoming a champion, it may become a reality at some point in their career.

    So, the following slides display the prospect who will wear UFC gold from each weight division.

    Let's take a look.

Bantamweight: Michael McDonald

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    Michael McDonald has turned many eyes on route to becoming one of the best up-and-coming fighters in the UFC today.

    McDonald is one of the most decorated knockouts artists in the 135-pound weight division as he's coming off a spectacular 56-second knockout victory over Alex Soto at UFC 139.

    It's rare for a fighter to have the skill set of McDonald as he is just 20 years old and has just one loss up until this point in his career.

    If McDonald can continue his early dominance, he'll be on the path to UFC gold before we know it.

Featherweight: Erik Koch

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    Erik Koch has quickly emerged on the scene as one of the most exciting young fighters in the UFC today.

    Koch's track record has been nearly flawless as he's fallen to defeat just one time in his early career to Chad Mendes by decision.

    At just 23 years of age, Koch brings a well-rounded skill set that has potential to earn him a title shot if he can keep his current pace.

Lightweight: Edson Barboza

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    While Edson Barboza may have been criticized for his lackluster performance at UFC 134 against Ross Pearson, he has yet to be beaten in his mixed martial arts career.

    Barboza brings a style that isn't heavily used in the lightweight division, as he uses a variety of kicks to go along with his strikes.

    Another key component to Barboza is the excitement he brings every time he steps inside the Octagon.

    Barboza's path could very well lead him to a lightweight championship bout in the near future.

Welterweight: Rory MacDonald

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    Rory MacDonald is often referred to as the younger version of Georges St-Pierre.

    But that would be a mistake, as MacDonald is clearly his own fighter and has quickly established a killer instinct in his fights that is missing in St-Pierre's.

    MacDonald has stumbled just once in his career but has finished 11 of the 12 fights he's taken part in.

    If MacDonald can continue his dominance at just 22 years of age, he'll have an extremely bright future in the 170-pound weight division.

Middleweight: Chris Weidman

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    While Chris Weidman certainly has a lot to improve in order to become a future middleweight champion, he is well on his way.

    Weidman has yet to lose a fight in his mixed martial arts career and remains one of the biggest up-and-coming threats.

    Unlike many fighters in the UFC, Weidman has already established a well-rounded skill set that allows him to finish his opponent via knockout or submission.

Light Heavyweight: Alexander Gustafsson

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    Alexander Gustafsson is one of the most forgotten fighters in the UFC but is quickly becoming a title contender in the light heavyweight division.

    Unlike many fighters, Gustafsson has shown the ability to finish his opponent in the very first round of action.

    If Gustafsson continues to evolve, he'll have no problem competing with the top-notch fighters in the 205-pound weight division and eventually make his run for UFC gold.

Heavyweight: Dave Herman

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    Despite recent mishaps outside of the Octagon, Dave Herman remains one of the best up-and-coming heavyweights in the UFC today.

    Herman has lost just one legitimate fight up until this point in his career, minus a disqualification fault prior to joining the UFC.

    "Pee Wee" Herman's knockout power has also attracted many fans along the way.

    At just 27 years of age, Herman could easily make a run to the top of the 265-pound weight class.

    For additional information, follow Garrett Derr on Twitter.