Happy New Year everyone… well Happy New Year’s Eve! 2008 was a really good year for MMA but 2009 should be even better! In part one I listed five fighters who I think could really break out into huge stars in 2009, here’s the final five.
#5- Michael Bisping
I’ll admit I am not his biggest fan, I like the guy but I think he gets extremely overrated by many of his fans. However I do think he has big things coming for him in 2009, he’s already a very popular guy in the UK, hell he’s becoming one of the most popular fighters in the world today. He has looked very good since dropping down to Middleweight. He is slated to fight the winner of the Dan Henderson/Rich Franklin fight after coaching the ninth season of TUF. If Bisping beats either one of those guys then he will definitely be in line for a title shot.
#4- Josh Koscheck
The fourth ranked Welterweight in the world had a good year in 08 and I predict an ever better year for ‘Kos’ in 09. He started off the year kicking Dustin Hazelett’s head off at UFC 82 and he followed that by bloodying up veteran Chris Lytle at UFC 86 to win a unanimous decision. He then took a fight on short notice with Thiago Alves at UFC 90 and even though he lost the decision he put up one hell of a fight! He recently bounced back with an impressive knock out over Judo machine, Yoshiyuki “Zenko” Yoshida at UFC: Fight for the Troops. People love to hate him but I am a fan of his and I do believe we will see him with gold around his waist one day, possibly even in 2009!
#3- C.B Dollaway
I’ve been impressed with C.B Dollaway ever since I saw him competing on the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter”. I think he has the potential to become one of the top middleweights in the world someday. Don’t let his high pitched voice and extremely noticeable upper lip fool you… this kid can fight! His wrestling is phenomenal, his Jiu-Jitsu is good, and his striking keeps improving; he’s just a good well rounded righter. He’s coming off two big wins over Jesse Taylor (Fight Night: Silva vs. Irvin) and Mike Massenzio (UFC 92), I foresee big things for the “Doberman” in 2009!
#2- Thiago “Pitbull” Alves
He’s been on a huge tear in 2008 with wins over Karo Parisyan, Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck. The win over ‘Kos’ earned him the next shot at the Welterweight title after BJ Penn and GSP fight in January. Thiago is a huge 170 pounder with dangerous Muay Thai and a good ground game to boot. He has some of the best takedown defense in MMA too so I can see him posing problems for both BJ Penn or GSP. We might see the ‘Pitbull’ as our 2009 UFC Welterweight champion!
#1- Kenny “KenFlo” Florian
This nerdy looking guy from Boston is in my opinion going to dominate the year 2009. Forget the year of the Ox, 2009 is the year of the Florian! Ever since suffering that loss to Sean Sherk back in 2006, Kenny has been on a huge roll. Kenny is the type of guy that improves with every fight, his last win over Joe Stevenson was his most impressive performance to date and it earned him the next shot at the lightweight belt. B.J Penn is the king of the 155 pound division, but I believe in Kenny Florian and I truly believe we will see him win that belt sometime in 2009!