Allow me to do the introductions. Jordan Mein, meet the UFC. World, meet MMA's next superstar.
UFC 158 has been designed to showcase the 170-pound division. The elite of the welterweight division are competing in pivotal contests that will redefine the division. Do not be surprised if the brightest shining star from that evening belongs to one that you are not that familiar with. Fans should be prepared to witness a tectonic welcome party at Montreal's Bell Centre on March 16.
Jordan Mein is from Alberta, Canada and grew up training with his father, Lee Mein; both are professional fighters. The junior Mein has been groomed to be an MMA star since birth and has trained in a variety of disciplines. At 14, he began competing in amateur MMA and turned pro at 16 against Rory MacDonald.
According to Jordan, the objective was simple: become an MMA fighter. "We started with Karate, Karate tournaments, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu and Jiu Jitsu tournaments. It then progressed to Sport Jiu Jitsu which was basically MMA. Everything was geared towards doing MMA," Mein said.
At the tender age of 23, he has now complied 34 professional fights with an impressive record of 34-8. He has handily defeated familiar names such as Joe Riggs, Josh Burkman, Marius Zaromskis and Cyborg. His opponent, at 31, has only 21 fights.
His only loss in his last nine fights was against former Strikeforce champion Tyron Woodley. It was a split-decision loss in a fight where Mein pressed the action on the feet and worked well off his back (scoring with elbows and submission attempts) while Woodley stalled in Mein's guard. This was an excellent example of how MMA judges do not understand the sport.
Mein also possesses an underrated quality: poise. He is comfortable and exudes confidence inside the cage while overtly enjoying the action. In his win over Zaromskis, when Marius opened the fight with a flash rolling axe-kick, Mein simply evaded it, smiled and countered with the exact same move. The kid has panache and copious quantities of the "it factor."
On a super-stacked card, his opportunity to steal the show will come at the expense of Dan Miller on the Facebook undercard. It might be Mein's last time not being featured in the main event. There is more at stake than earning a "W": his hard-fought and well earned opportunity to become an MMA sensation.
On this high-profile evening featuring the best at 170, the Canadian has a rare opportunity to make an immediate splash in the division. It might just be the athlete with the best performance of the night who rockets to the top of contender status.
Despite being on a card among the greatest fighters in the division—Nick Diaz, GSP, Rory MacDonald, Carlos Condit, Johny Hendricks et al—young Mein might be the one people are talking about on Sunday morning.
Each of the 14 scheduled welterweights is indirectly competing with the others. In the capricious and arbitrary UFC ranking system, performance and style points are significant factors. A stylistic win for the product from the CMC camp could award him with immediate marquee bouts that could quickly launch him into title contention. Having the best performance of the night could make him the leader of the pack in the eyes of the fans and the promotion.
The opportunity is enhanced with the fact that the show is in Montreal. The venue is famous for its attendance and intensely engaged audience. They will be vociferously supporting their Canadian comrade.
A further advantage in debuting on this fortuitous manner is that GSP is headlining. The champ is the sport's number one PPV draw, so there should be well over a million pay-per-view buys.
Do not expect any debut nerves for this young but seasoned veteran. Big fights do not bother him. In fact, he thrives on the pressure. He has been groomed for this. He was genetically built for this. He yearns for this.
"The more pressure, the better it is when you win. I want high pressure fights and to compete at the highest level,” Mein said.
Well, son, here is your chance.
Andrew Dodds is a Contributor for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
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