Before Georges St-Pierre made it to the UFC, he started out in promotions like TKO and Universal Combat Challenge in his home country of Canada. The same can be said for current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who cut his teeth in regional shows like Battle Cage Xtreme.
Virtually every fighter that's in the UFC or Bellator now started somewhere else with a promotion that looked to build young talent and prepare them for the next part of their careers so they could perform on the biggest stages under the brightest lights.
The Resurrection Fighting Alliance hopes to brand itself as the premiere league that will breed and grow the best up-and-coming talent in the MMA world.
Headed up by famed MMA manager Ed Soares, the RFA is quickly becoming the home to many top prospects in the sport. The goal, according to the promotion's president, is to make opportunities for the best young fighters in MMA and to give them a home as they develop into the superstars of tomorrow.
"We're out there trying to create more opportunities for fighters," Soares told Bleacher Report. "Sven (Bean) has been in the business a long time, I've been in the business a long time, everyone involved has been in the business for a long time. At the end of the day, we're fans of the sport and we've worked at every angle of the sport and we just try to do the best that we can."
While the RFA did recently sign a multi-fight television deal with AXS TV, they aren't trying to match other promotions dollar for dollar when it comes to huge over-the-top shows. They are building from the ground up, and slowly but surely they believe they can be a success in the difficult business of MMA.
"We're going to build this step by step. We don't have some big money investor behind us, not yet, and even if we did we're going to be very smart and we're going to build it one step at a time. I don't know if it's the right plan, but it's the plan that we're doing and it's the plan that's going to work in the long run," Soares stated. "Because I'm not just trying to do one or two events and create a bunch of hype. I really want to create an opportunity to start developing fighters and become what Tuesday Night Fights on USA where the guys got built up big enough to go to the big pay-per-view shows or go to a bigger show."
The talent pool at RFA is already pretty deep and it's only growing with each show. They've already landed some famous names with fighters like rising star Sergio Pettis (younger brother of UFC featherweight contender Anthony Pettis), and will soon feature Chinzo Machida, the older sibling of former UFC champion Lyoto Machida.
Add to that names like undefeated Ohio State All-American Lance Palmer and upcoming headliner Brandon Thatch, who put in work with UFC champion Georges St-Pierre recently, and the RFA is quickly becoming the go-to promotion for the best young talent.
"That's what we want to do. We want do develop new talent," said Soares.
The plan for 2013 is for the RFA to do between eight and 10 shows total, and with each card they are adding new talent to the roster. The developmental process isn't something that happens overnight, but Soares believes a slow and steady approach will eventually prove that their competitors are destined to be future champions in promotions like the UFC.
"It's not going to be built overnight. It's not going to be built in two or three shows," said Soares. "We have to slowly build it up, make a strong foundation and the strong foundation will make everything better."
The next RFA show will air on AXS TV on Friday night from Denver, Colarado, and tickets are still available for the event.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.
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