MMA Radar: Five Fighters On the Verge

Mike DAnalyst IJanuary 26, 2009

Here are five fighters not yet on anyone's PFP or No. 1 contender list that could potentially appear on the radar screen within the next couple of years.


Mike Swick:The only credible thing Mike Goldberg has done in the past five years as an announcer was proclaiming that this guy's nickname should be "Quick."

Give Swick the smallest of openings and it's virtually impossible to count the number of punches this guy can rattle off before the ref jumps in and catches a few of his own.

Although not known for any type of dominant ground game, Swick does have one hell of a guillotine choke.

He proved that Marcus Davis' hand grenades were no match for his dual semi-automatic fists.


Dustin Hazelett: Who would have thought that a Louisiana boy named Dustin could be one of the most exciting BJJ sub specialists in the game right now?

This guy with the Amish-looking beard has every submission in his tool belt.

After Josh Burkman's flying armbar, he goes out and subs Tamdan McCrory with a reverse armbar that would have made Royce proud.


Diego Sanchez: Losing two out of his last four has bumped him off of the radar temporarily. Wisely choosing the LW division as his wrecking ground will eventually catapult his status up among the most feared 155 pounders out there. Diego is an animal waiting to refine a discipline other than ground-and-pound.

Currently, Diego's submissions consist of planting his right hand into your face until you have decided that enough is enough. Teach him a triangle or even an arm-bar, and soon he will be staring down B.J. Penn from across the cage.


"Razor" Rob McCullough: This guy has heavy hands, but not much else. At 31 years old, it might be too late for him to develop any ground skills, but it is fun watching that overhand right. He, by definition, is the opponent that has a "puncher's chance" at pulling off an upset.


Matt Hughes: Has anyone ever fallen so far from grace after losing two re-matches to a future legend currently in his prime, GSP? This guy was unbeatable prior to falling victim to GSP's rise to super-stardom.

Trigg, Sherk, Riggs, Royce, even BJ couldn't deal with this guy's core strength.

Although he is 35 and has fallen back down the food chain of top title contenders, I can't help but sense he has one more reign of dominance left in his gas tank. Matt Hughes is not one to willingly ride off into the sunset, content with what he has accomplished in his Hall of Fame career.

Be prepared for—at the very least—a quick run through all of the Welterweights until he gets one last shot at whomever walks out with the belt at UFC-94.