The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is always full to the brim with world-class fighters, and that’s been the case ever since it came into existence. However, while we may be choosing to focus on the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Daniel Cormier, and rightly so, it’s worth remembering that the stars of tomorrow are also waiting to burst through to the next level.
Some of these names are pretty well known among the majority of MMA fans, but others are being slept on when it comes to their championship potential. We aren’t suggesting that the UFC should thrust them straight up into title shots, here are five individuals, if given the chance to develop, can become the next big stars of the franchise.
KELVIN GASTELUM (15-3, 1 no contest)
Despite the fact that he’s on the verge of a Middleweight Championship opportunity, it still doesn’t feel like Kelvin Gastelum gets the respect that he deserves. After shocking the masses by defeating Uriah Hall in their Ultimate Fighter Finale, he has gone on to dismantle some of the biggest and best names that the UFC has to offer. At the age of 26, he has the world at his feet.
PETR YAN (10-1)
Petr Yan is an absolute machine, and it feels like more and more people are going to recognise that as he moves into the next stage of his UFC career. His composure and precision throughout the course of his fights have led to many dubbing him as ‘the next big thing’, and it certainly feels like he’s been putting a lot of bantamweights on notice.
ALEXANDER HERNANDEZ (10-1)
Alexander Hernandez is a scary man, and despite his recent efforts against Olivier Aubin-Mercier not leading to a finish, we still feel as if his greatness was highlighted perfectly in his post-fight interview. The reason for that is he was clearly unhappy with his performance, and given that he was still able to come away with a decisive win, that should be a fairly terrifying prospect for anyone who may come up against him.
TATIANA SUAREZ (7-0)
Tatiana Suarez has been dubbed the female Khabib, and it’s kind of hard to argue with that. At the age of 27, she already seems like one of the most well-rounded female fighters in all of MMA, and it’s going to be difficult for people to keep denying her of that. In 2018 alone, she’s been able to put away Alexa Grasso and Carla Esparza in convincing fashion, and this is only the beginning.
ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI (18-1)
Everyone needs someone to believe in, and when it comes to Alexander Volkanovski, many fans are already calling him the UFC’s modern day superman. Of course, a big reason for that comes from him saying that he wants to rid the sport of the guys who try and play the villain role, but you can’t deny his results with big wins over Jeremy Kennedy and Darren Elkins in 2018.