Possibly the hottest topic, for at least some fans in the MMA community, is the up and comers throughout the divisions. Here are some stand-out prospects to certainly keep a close eye on within the UFC organisation.
Coming in at the number one spot is “Suga” Sean O’Malley. Many believe he should be in the top 15 in the bantamweight division.
Currently holding an unbeaten MMA record of 11-0 O’Malley is a fan favourite due to his relentlessness and unique style of fighting. We first seen him compete on Dana White’s contender series in 2017, where we seen him get his hand raised in a spectacular knockout victory over Alfred Khashakyan in the first round.
He soon made a quick turn around and faced off against Terrion Ware, in which he would pick up a unanimous decision victory in the finale of the series. This resulted in him receiving the honour to fight as the co-main event on TUF: A new world champion finale. Which was headlined by Nicco Montano & Roxane Modafferi, for the inaugural UFC women’s flyweight championship.
O’Malley’s last fight was against Jose Alberto Quinonez, at UFC 248. He’d been awarded performance of the night, after winning the fight by TKO in the first round. Sean had thrown various kicks at his opponent, before an uppercut and hammer throws forced the referee to end the fight. At the end of this bout, Suga Sean O’Malley was overcome with all his emotions after being unable to fight for two years. Resulting in him saying ‘this is the Suga show 2.0’.
Sean is currently on a four fight win streak within the UFC organisation and will be looking to crack into the bantamweight rankings in his next performance.
O’Malley will next face long time UFC veteran Eddie Wineland at UFC 250 on June 6.
Coming in at the number two spot is Bryce Mitchell also known as “Thug Nasty” who competes within the UFC’s Featherweight division. Bryce currently holds a MMA record of 13-0 lately coming off a dominant victory over Charles Rosa at UFC 249.
Thug Nasty was chosen to compete on TUF: Undefeated featherweight tournament, after racking up nine straight wins outside the organisation, he would go on to lose in the semi finals against Brad Katona. Even though he had lost this bout, The UFC still signed Bryce after they were impressed with his performance, as he fought for nearly the full 15 minutes and shown impressive strikes as well as technique.
Bryce has already shown flashes of becoming a true contender within the division and has already made a big name for himself by already totalling up two post fight bonuses and a UFC honour in 2019 for the submission of the year against Matt Sayles. This submission came as a shock to many as the twister technique is very rare to see in the UFC, as it has only ever been seen once before in a BJJ competition.
At his victory in UFC 249, Bryce once again shown off his Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique, as he constantly put Charles Rosa in many different submission positions. Many believe that Rosa, who is a black belt in jiu-jitsu, was overmatched on the ground throughout the entirety of the fight. Bryce had tried multiple times to put his opponent in the twister and the arm triangle. In the first round, he had got Rosa in an arm triangle and nearly got the submission, unfortunately for Bryce he was able to hold on until the end of the round. Although this didn’t stop him as he still won the bout by decision.
At only 25 years of age the sky is the limit for Thug Nasty and many fans are looking forward to his return in his next bout where he will be wearing the outstanding Bryce Mitchell edition camo shorts.
Last but not least the future pride of British MMA, Nathaniel Wood takes the third spot on this list. Holding an MMA record of 16-4, “The Prospect” is nothing short of what a true up and comer is considered, making his UFC appearance in 2018 against long time veteran Johnny Eduardo where he picked up an impressive victory in the second round by submission.
Wood is currently 3-1 with the UFC after recently falling short to John Dodson on the 15th February at UFC Fight Night: Anderson vs Blachowicz 2. Unlike his recent fights, where he won by submission, he lost this bout by TKO in the third round.
As a result of his very first win in the UFC, Nathaniel had already made a great start to his career as he was awarded the performance of the night, meaning he was one of four fighters that night to receive the $50,000 bonus. This was a huge achievement for Wood, giving the fans the excitement for his future fights.
On the 24th March 2018 Nathaniel defended his Cage Warriors Bantamweight championship in his final fight for the organisation, before heading in the UFC, resulting in a Knockout win. He KO’d Luca Lovine within fifty seconds of the very first round, this being his fastest stoppage in Cage warriors. However this still hasn’t been his fastest time in his overall career, as in 2014 he KO’d his opponent within 22 seconds.
Even though he is coming of a loss, due to all his accomplishments, we are still optimistic as to what the future has in store for this versatile fighter.