7 Locations the UFC Must Visit for the First Time in 2012
The UFC has done an amazing job of branding themselves the pinnacle of the mixed martial arts community.
No matter where you're from, every fighter hopes to one day aspire to become part of the Zuffa family, which has, in recent years, ventured across many new markets, including England, Germany, Abu Dhabi as well as re-immersing themselves in Brazil and Japan.
However, there are still many untapped markets that the organization has yet to capitalize on, one's that will undoubtedly secure more fan fare for future events around the globe.
Cheick Kongo would perhaps be the greatest ambassador for his country, as the Frenchman has become one of the more polarizing figures in the heavyweight division, given his size, physique and striking acumen, which has garnered many knockouts whilst in the UFC.
Georges St-Pierre, who hails from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, would also be a huge draw given his appeal as a French Canadian athlete and the reigning UFC welterweight champion of the world.
After making a dominant return to Brazil this August, the UFC will look to replicate their initial success by bringing the Octagon back to the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
The organization would be best served in looking to dominate South America's second largest country in Argentina, which is populated by more than 40 million people.
It might be time for The Ultimate Fighter season one veteran in Alex Schoenauer to dust off the gloves and get some "W's" back in the win column so he can venture back to his native country.
It's a market that the head honchos have been looking to cultivate for a long time.
Mexico has long been a hot bed for the most passionate of combat sports fans, particularly boxing, as many great champions have been produced from the impoverished country, though those same fans are slowly but surely tuning into the Diego Sanchez's, Roger Huerta's and Efrain Escudero's of the world.
No man should grace the card more so than that of former UFC champion Cain Velasquez, who proudly represents his heritage on his right hand come fight time.
With the UFC venturing into new territories, you can expect the organization to put China at the top of the list. Though there are very few fighters in the promotion who represent China proudly, an event there will only expedite the growth that the country needs in order to produce a new batch of talent.
With 1.3 billion people populating China, there is no denying the viability that an organization like the UFC can have on a country that is in need of a prominent figure in the martial arts world.
Maybe UFC featherweight Tiequan Zhang can be that guy.
World renowned champions such as Andrei Arlovski, Oleg Taktarov and the legendary Fedor Emelianenko are among the few athletes that have hailed from Russia and enjoyed success in the mixed martial arts world.
With Sambo being the country's most coveted sport, Emelianenko himself has become a large part of the success in the rise in popularity of MMA in Russia, given the fact that the ultra-talented heavyweight has garnered several world titles in recent years.
With over 141 million people populating the country, there exists more than enough adequate fans of the sport that will deliver solid numbers for the organization should they venture into new territory.
The Netherlands have one of the richest histories in all of combat sports, producing some of the best athletes in the world.
Though their legacy is rooted in kickboxing, many fighters have since ventured into the world of mixed martial arts, including former K-1 World Grand Prix champions Semmy Schilt and Alistair Overeem.
A hot bed for combat sports, Holland needs the right catalyst to kick start the spread of MMA across the country.
UFC exec Dana White has stated on numerous occasions that the organization is contemplating a move to a new market in Hawaii, though some red tape and taxes are the main cause for concern.
There is no greater ambassador than that of Hilo's own BJ Penn, a former two-time world champion who has held titles in two different weight classes.
Kendall Grove, the season three winner of The Ultimate Fighter is one of Penn's main training partners and was a perennial figure in the middleweight division and could soon find himself back in the UFC with another impressive performance.
With the Grove-Penn connection, an impromptu event could pull big numbers at the Blaisdell Center, which has housed many MMA events in the past.