With the year coming to an end next week it got me thinking about what’s in store for us in the coming year. Will we finally get to drive around in flying cars like we were promised in the year 2000? Will Cory Forgeron finally realize the awesomeness of Lyoto Machida? Will they finally figure out how to clone an army of Jessica Alba’s and program all of them to do nothing but cook, clean and make love? And will we see a fighter break through the glass ceiling and capture UFC gold? I am going to write a two part article listing ten fighters who I think could break the glass ceiling in 09. Here’s the first five!
#10- Dustin Hazelett
Jorge Gurgel trained fighter and one of the best Jiu Jitsu guys in the sport today! Dustin Hazelett started off the year with an impressive fight against top ranked Welterweight Josh Koscheck at UFC 82. “McLovin” as they call him, looked good up until the end when he made a mistake and got knocked out from a head kick by Koscheck. Hazelett bounced back with impressive submission victories over Josh Burkman and Tamdan McCrory, both fights earning him submission of the night honors. Hazelett is constantly improving and I think in 2009 we will see him cracking the top ten of the division.
#9- Nate Diaz
The first ever lightweight “Ultimate Fighter” and younger brother of UFC veteran Nick Diaz could become one of the best lightweights ever. Despite me not being a fan of his “ghetto boy” attitude, I recognize his talent and his potential. His striking is pretty good, but his Jiu-Jitsu is very good and he is just going to get better. He has a big fight coming up with Clay Guida and I think we will see in this fight the most impressive version of Nathan Diaz.
#8- Demian Maia
This guy has, in my opinion the best Jiu-Jitsu for MMA and I am not the only one who thinks this either. Maia is 9-0 in MMA (4-0 UFC) and is a submission machine that can pretty much submit anyone in his weight class, even the current champ Anderson Silva… that’s right you heard me, if Maia were to get Silva to the ground I think he could submit him. Do I think he can beat Anderson Silva? Probably not, he’d get mauled in the stand up but if it were to go to the ground…
#7- Cain Valasquez
Anytime I write an article about a future champion or something along those lines, I always mention this guy Cain Valasquez. Why? Well he’s a freakin’ wrecking machine that’s why! In 2009 I think he will continue to smash through opponents and work his way up into title contention. If you think Brock Lesnar is a freakishly strong wrestler, wait until you see what Cain Valasquez is capable of!
#6- Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida
If you have been following along with my articles or if you know me personally then you will know I am a Lyoto Machida fan. People think he’s a boring fighter, I think he’s an interesting fighter and to me that’s exciting. He has a big fight coming up with Thiago Silva at UFC 94, my colleague Cory Forgeron says that he is putting all of his MMA knowledge on Thiago knocking Machida out so therefore I am putting all of my MMA knowledge on Machida submitting or winning a decision against Thiago Silva. Don’t be surprised to see “The Dragon” with UFC gold around his waist before the end of 2009.