Rising Stars of the UFC – Who Are the Next Generation in Mixed Martial Arts?
MMA is a new addition compared to other massive sports, and UFC is one of the most prominent promotional organizations, which played a significant role in developing this sport.
Initially, defending the dignity of their base sport was the different combat sports fighters' first instinct. Jiu-Jitsu fighters were fighting with Gis against Boxers or Wrestlers. There were no weight categories, and the lack of rules was evident.
As time went by, MMA’s rules developed and formed as the Martial Art itself. Younger fighters start joining MMA right away instead of moving from wrestling, boxing, or BJJ to MMA gyms.
Today, Mixed Martial Art is not a competition that determines which combat sport is the best. New generation fighters are rather promising since they take essential skills from each combat sport and use them under the MMA rules.
The Best UFC Rising Stars of 2022
During the years, fans of the sport witnessed many great fighters on the roster of the UFC and enjoyed lots of great stylistic matches. But the fact remains that new stars are replacing “old school” fighters. The question is – how good is the new generation, and what should we expect from the next one?
To find out what the new generation brings, let's talk about the top 5 rising stars of the UFC:
5. Paddy Pimblett
Paddy Pimblett is one of the few fighters who is unranked for this moment but sells lots of PPV. He fought only two battles inside the Octagon and earned the victory in both fights in the first round.
Before joining the UFC, Pimblett became the lightweight champion in Cage Warriors' infamous European promotion. This title brought him lots of love and hype in his hometown Liverpool.
His most powerful weapon remains his ground game. He has excellent Jiu-Jitsu skills, but he proved that he also has bombs in his hands and can take punches, so he is not afraid of exchanges in striking.
His fighting moves are not the only thing that attracts fans from all over, but his appearance outside the cage is also admirable. In fact, there’s the speculation that UFC is raising him as a star in order to attract lots of fans from Europe, especially from England.
At first, Michael Bisping, former middleweight champion of the UFC, was the fan-favorite fighter in the UK who introduced and brought the UFC hype. After that, Darren Till took the initiative to represent England, and now it is time for Paddy to show the best of England’s MMA skills.
4. Mateusz Gamrot
Mateusz Gamrot is another dangerous prospect on the roster. For the moment, he is the 12th ranked lightweight in the UFC, a result of being on a 3 winning streak inside the Octagon. He is a former KSW double champion, which can be considered one of the best, if not the best, promotions in Europe.
Gamrot entered the UFC with an undefeated record, 17-0-0-1, and suffered his first-ever loss with Georgian Viking Guram Kutateladze via split decision. Guram is a phenomenal fighter and another future rising star, so losing against him in the debut doesn't say anything about Gamrot.
After that loss, he fought 3 times and earned 3 finishes against names like Jeremy Stephans and Diego Ferreira.
According to Micheal Brown, the head coach of the gym, the 31 years old is one of the best athletes he has ever worked with.
In his next battle, on June 25th, he is up against another destroy-type of fighter, Arman Tsarukyan (18-2-0), and the winner will get a fighter from the Top 10.
3. Ilia Topuria
Ilia Topuria is the #15 ranked Featherweight in the UFC. The undefeated fighter from Georgia, who trains in Alicante, Spain, has fantastic Jiu-Jitsu and killer boxing skills, which shows why he is ranked so high.
Many predict that Topuria is the future Champion since it appears he has it all. He signed in the UFC with an undefeated record of 8-0-0, with 7 submissions and 1 KO victory. Moreover, Ilia took his debut fight on 10 days' short notice and defeated Youssef Zalal, who was undefeated in the UFC with 3 wins inside the cage.
It was the first and last victory that “El Matador” left for the judges. After his debut in the UFC, he held 3 bouts and earned 3 KO victories. Topuria even defeated the very experienced fighter Damon Jackson and one of the best Jiu-Jitsu fighters Ryan Hall in the first round with a brutal KO.
In his latest fight, he faced the English fighter Jai Harbert on his home ground. This fight was Ilia's debut in the lightweight division, and Ilia showed a champion's mentality when he received a high kick and got a knockdown. The fighter continued the match, and in the second round, he knocked out Jai Herbert in front of Jai's people.
2. Bryce Mitchell
Bryce Mitchell is another fighter representing the featherweight division. In his latest appearance, Bryce defeated legendary Brazilian fighter Edson Barboza and earned the respect of the crowd.
During the game, he dominated the way Khabib did in 2017 – left no questions on the ground and earned an excellent knockdown on the feet.
Currently, he is undefeated with a record of 15-0-0. In terms of UFC, this was his 6th victory, and he is waiting for a fight inside the Top 5.
Bryce is most likely one or two fights away from his title shot. His most dangerous weapon is his ground skills – he’s always looking for submissions and has excellent movement control.
1. Khamzat Chimaev
Khamzat Chimaev is one of the most fast-rising stars of the UFC. We can say that he is already a completed star, especially when we consider the massive hype around him.
Chimaev’s unique fighting style, including the trash talk, is what it takes to become the star of the UFC. No matter the opponent, he’s always looking for a way to finish his rival from the second the fight starts.
In his first four fights, he received only 1 punch, and that's when the word of a new star started spreading. In his latest appearance, he fought with the former title challenger and the #3 ranked contender, Gilbert Burns, and earned UD victory after a 3-rounder fight.
It was undoubtedly one of his best fights, if not the best. Khamzat is the guy who came out from nowhere and defeated the #3 ranked fighter who has significant experience in the UFC, 25 fights in total.
Chimaev plans to become 3 weight category Champion, and he has everything to achieve his dream. His reach advantage is relevant for the light heavyweight division too. Still, he first has to win the fights in the welterweight and middleweight, where champions are dominant fighters, like Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman.
Kamaru is the #1 ranked P4P fighter of the UFC, and Adesanya remains the #3 ranked P4P fighter on the list. If Khamzat manages to dethrone even one of the kings, he will be part of the history, and it will be a massive statement for his legacy.
There are lots of other fighters who deserve to be inside the Top 5. Song Yadong, Movsar Evloev, Paul Craig, Tom Aspinall, and Arman Tsarukyan are only some of the names that are likely to be part of the future of the UFC.
These fighters are the guarantee that UFC is going in the right direction, and we will witness even better fights.