By 2019, almost everybody knows the big names in UFC like Conor McGregor and Rhonda Rousey. McGregor became infamous across the globe when he stepped into the ring with pro boxer Floyd Mayweather and stayed in the public eye due to his character, charm and fearless conduct in the octagon. Rousey is known as the best female athlete of our time for her career, which spans not only UFC, but also Olympic judo and, most recently, WWE. But with McGregor, Rousey and other champions retired from the sport, who are the up-and-coming faces to watch out for in UFC today?
UFC’s growing popularity across the globe means that everybody wants a piece of the action; fans of different competitive sports are getting on board, drawn by the excitement and fast pace of the fights. Here we’ve put together a list of some of the most exciting fighters to keep an eye on in 2019 and beyond, so that you, too, can partake in the experience.
Brazilian bullet Costa is on the up and up this year, with his fight against ‘Soldier of God’ Yoel Romero penned in for the 17th of August. He currently stands undefeated with a 12-strong pro fight win streak, although it remains to be seen whether he can maintain this strong stance at what will be his fifth fight in the UFC. After some controversy about the intravenous use of permitted substances led to a 6-month ban in 2018, he must be ready and raring to get back into the octagon later this year.
Another undefeated fighter, Suarez is poised to snatch the crown sometime soon. She is one tough cookie; having survived the thyroid cancer that put a stop to her Olympic wrestling career, she has since gone on to have an impressive UFC career thus far. Her next fight will happen in June, and it will be against experienced fellow strawweight division fighter, Nina Ansaroff. Suarez’s defining feature is her awesome strength, and it looks like this rare ability is set to carry her far in the UFC. One thing’s for sure: She’s got the great stats to back her up.
It’s safe to say that all eyes are currently on Adesanya for the middleweight title. This powerful contender is enjoying an unbroken 16-win run and is showing no signs of slowing down. His kickboxing background serves him well, highlighted by his brutal victory over Kelvin Gastelum just a few weeks ago. Fans wait with bated breath to see just how far Adesanya can carry this winning streak—will it be all the way to the top? Many say that ‘The Last Stylebender’ has this in the bag already.
Brand newcomer McCann enjoyed a hard-won victory earlier this year when she went up against Priscila Cachoeira and walked away a winner. Despite a nasty-looking eye injury, McCann persevered to become the first English female fighter to see success at the UFC. Soon she’ll head stateside to go up against the ‘Violence Queen’ Ariane Lipski in a chance to show us all what she’s really made of away from her home turf. So far, she certainly has the personal determination and the loyal backing from fellow Liverpudlians that could be what she needs to succeed.
Light heavyweight contender Reyes is here to shake things up. He has an 11-fight win streak at the moment and looks confident heading into his next bout of training. Nicknamed ‘The Devastator’ due to the monumental force of his kicks, Reyes’ sunny demeanour belies a hidden beast that could challenge the title. With his aggressive approach inside the octagon, it’s clear to see that Reyes is here to make himself known and take home the belt. It will certainly be interesting to see which direction this fresh-faced fighter takes as his star grows brighter.