Many think the best fighters in the UFC right now are the reigning division champions, but that’s not always the case. Many silent assassins lurk in the shadows and wait for a perfect opportunity to reach the throne of promotion. The names below could rule their weight classes for years to come.
Khamzat Chimaev (11-0) is a Swedish freestyle phenom who quickly rose through the UFC ranks beating John Phillips, Rhys McKee, Li Jingliang and Gilbert Burns. Many see him as the most legitimate threat to division champion Kamaru Usman and big cardio machine Colby Covington.
Chimaev’s “Dagestan handcuffs” technique (controlling the opponent’s legs from the top position) remains an enigma for most of the UFC’s 170-pound warriors. He is arguably one of the most popular MMA fighters around right now thanks to his large number of social media followers.
Lerone Murphy (11-0-1) is an undefeated England prospect and former FCC champion who kicked off his UFC run with a draw against Zubaira Tukhugov but then put out Ricardo Lamas and Makwan Amirkhani. He is currently riding a three-fight winning streak.
Murphy is a very tactical fighter with an exceptional game plan and excellent counters. He stopped Makwan Amirkhani with a knee when the Finnish competitor tried to shoot.
Many believe that Jack Shore (16-0) will be the first ever UFC Welsh champion. Shore launched his run as a formidable BJJ black belt and submission specialist. However, his fighting style has evolved a lot. These days, Shore can brawl for three rounds in stand-up and wrestle against the best wrestlers.
The former Cage Warriors champion has passed high-level potentials – Hunter Azure, Liudvik Sholinian and Timur Valiev, which also says a lot about his cardio.
Tom Aspinall (12-2) is the biggest English heavyweight prospect in the history of this competition. Aspinall delivered the biggest test of his career by defeating Alexander Volkov via right armbar.
The decorated boxer and BJJ specialist is a legitimate threat to every fighter on the UFC’s 265-pound roster. His UFC record is perfect – 5 wins and 0 losses. Tom is one of the best fighters in MMA right now.
Erin Blanchfield (8-1) is an Invicta FC veteran and a decorated forward and grappler. “The Cold Blooded” is only 23 years old and she has already scored victories over top opponents – Victoria Leonardo, Sarah Alpar and Miranda Maverick.
Blanchfield’s endless pressure and superb cardio make her a legitimate threat to every 125er. Valentina Shevchenko could soon have a dangerous rival for the title!
Muhammad Mokaev is a 21-year-old top prospect (6-0, 1 NC) who took Brave CF by storm and launched his UFC career with a very dominating first-round victory over Cody Durden. Mokaev puts pressure from the start and shoots as soon as his opponent makes a mistake.
Mokaev’s ground game is exceptional, and it’s nearly impossible to sweep or attempt a back triangle choke as he holds his hips very low. If he beats Charles Johnson in July, the entire flyweight division should pay attention to his skills.