Future Stars in MMA

Most Fun Fighters to Watch This Quarter


Israel Adesanya (Izzy) [185]

This has to be the most ruthless champion to date in online and verbal insults. I wouldn’t describe all of Adesanya’s comments as “trash”, some of it is just insults. Humping Paulo Costa after knocking him out and telling Jon Jones his late mother would be ashamed of him are not fight promotion, Izzy is simply just that hateful.

He is a top 5 kickboxer in UFC’s championship history, maybe a top 3 counter striker at that level as well. After failing to claim the 205lb title, Adesanya has led many fans to question his future as champion. This recent loss paired with his upcoming grudge match against Robert Whittaker make Izzy one of the most thrilling and anticipated fighters to watch through April 2022.

AJ McKee [145]

AJ is another champion that has flown under the radar for years. He just KO’d a terrifying Brazilian champion in PatrĂ­cio ‘Pitbull’ and may even be more talented than Jon Jones when he was McKee’s age. He debuted in Bellator with his father training him from childhood and he is still holds a faultless record. Now that he has won his first world title, promotions will start a bidding war to sign the future of the sport under their banner.

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Charles Oliveira [155]

Excitement comes in many forms in this sport. This fighter supplies it by overcoming challenge in competition. He debatably loses 10-8 every first round of his championship bouts. However, he ended up finishing both of those opponents. In addition, we watched him grow up in the UFC and now he seems to have a new grown man swagger to him. He has the most submissions in the promotion, KO power, precise striking and has the 155lb Lightweight world title.

Rose Namajuanas [115]

Rose is a 115lb Strawweight champ that KO’s elite fighters in their first encounter. She TKO’d Joanna and Zhang in their first bouts. Moreover, as the years go by she continues to improve greatly. Her interviews are always about peace and love and all of her fighting techniques are used innovatively. She is definitely one of the most memorable The Ultimate Fighter alums to date.

Francis Ngannou [HW]

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His technique is poor, but his chin is granite and his hands are diamonds. He flatlines people in a fashion identical to Deontay Wilder, but Wilder has better defensive skills and IQ. For casual fans that just want to see someone get dropped, this is the guy.

Future Champs/ Contenders

Justin Gaethje [155]

Gaethje, however, is looking to hurt fighters permanently after hearing his interviews. This Lightweight has very dark intentions for his opponents. Some could believe he has a chance to win his first undisputed title against Charles Oliveira next year and many fans love his chances in the bout. Gaethje is a technical brawler with a wrestling background and vicious KO power, which is never a boring combination.

Khamzat Chimaev [170 & 185]

Khamzat Chimaev is whipping through the 170lb Welterweight division like a tornado. He also alternates between 185lb and 170lb and has really embarrassed respectable fighters over the last year and a half. Chimaev is respectful enough, but the way he fights is very dismissive of his opponents’ skillset. Over the last three fights he has been hit less than twenty times total and spent less than seven minutes competing. On top of all that, he went from unknown to prospect to contender in about 16 months. For MMA, that is essentially overnight.

Jiri Prochazka [205]

Big guys throwing combos, being unpredictable and scoring highlights will always generate a lot of hype. He has work to do, but many predict that he will be the next 205lb Light Heavyweight champion.


Paddy Pimblett

Paddy ‘The Baddy” has a reckless fighting style with explosive striking. He also has high level grappling to complement the striking. His interviews are wild and his emergence from the U.K.’s Cage Warriors promotion have many questioning whether he will be the future of the sport. Scouser accents are great for business.

Sean O’Malley

Sean seems very aware of his place in the division. He has nasty power, throws plenty of volume, and is a very accurate striker. He calls out fighters and brands himself well and has had Snoop Dogg’s stamp of approval for the past three years. O’Malley truly believes he is the future of the bantamweight division.