The 10 Most Frightening New Fighters in the UFC Right Now

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2014

The 10 Most Frightening New Fighters in the UFC Right Now

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    Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    The UFC is continuously at the forefront of mixed martial arts' exponential evolution.

    It is the biggest MMA promotion on the planet and encompasses an array of talented athletes.

    But what makes the international juggernaut even more prominent is that every newly signed fighter seems to be scarier than the last.

    Whether they're Irish phenoms or destructive Strikeforce standouts, the UFC has been blessed with terrifyingly potent newcomers.

    Consisting of fighters no more than one year removed from their debuts, here are the 10 most frightening newbies in the UFC right now.

10. Justin Scoggins

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    MMAWeekly.com

    Not a lot of people know who Justin Scoggins is, but that's OK.

    As he is one of the hardest-hitting flyweights in the world, it's only a matter of time before the 21-year-old gets the global recognition he deserves.

    If his maturation goes as planned, his dynamite hands will eventually fuel a barbaric run at the title.

9. Hyun Gyu Lim

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    Similar to Chan Sung Jung at featherweight, Hyun Gyu Lim is walking through opponents at welterweight.

    Equipped with hammer hands and a cement chin, he is only a few fights away from turning into a bona fide top contender.

    The fact that he's able to absorb deadly damage for five straight rounds—as evidenced by his recent loss to former Strikeforce king Tarec Saffiedineproves how game Lim is come Fight Night.

8. Yoel Romero

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    One look at Yoel Romero, and you'll be running for the hills. At least that's what his former opponents should have done.

    Through three Octagon appearances, the Olympic wrestling prodigy has practically slaughtered the competition.

    From blistering flying knees to atomic uppercuts, the Cuban has ascended the middleweight ranks to become one of the best finishers around.

7. Tatsuya Kawajiri

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    If you've never heard of Tatsuya Kawajiri or seen him fight, watch this video.

    With outstanding submissions and uncanny comfortableness to exchange in close quarters, "Crusher" is one of the most dangerous veterans in the sport.

    He may be on the tail end of his career at the age of 35, but with 22 career finishes under his belt, Kawajiri is destined to take the featherweight crop by storm.

6. Alex Garcia

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    Add a gallon of knockout power, a tablespoon of athleticism and a dash of technique, and you have Tristar Gym's newest Octagon prince.

    At only 26 years old, Alex Garcia possesses untapped potential in a division without its king. He's big, quick and disciplined and knows how to finish in fashion.

    If his 43-second knockout over Ben Wall in his December debut is any indication of his future promise, 2014 should be an eye-opening campaign for the Dominican.

5. Tyron Woodley

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    Tyron Woodley's rise to UFC stardom has been stunning.

    The athletic welterweight came over from Strikeforce early last year with a title loss to Nate Marquardt looming overhead, but that didn't stop "The Chosen One" from securing some of the most brutal Octagon knockouts of 2013.

    Blessed with comic-book strength and evolved technique, Woodley is one scary dude. Carlos Condit better stay the course when the two meet at UFC 171 on March 15.

4. Brandon Thatch

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    Dressed with natural power and size, welterweight Brandon Thatch resembles a tall tree with bazookas for branches.

    In just two UFC appearances in 2013, "Rukus" mangled the competition with slicing knees, scintillating combinations and an overpowering sense for brutality.

    So while he's 11-1 lifetime, the Colorado product doesn't just win. He pinpoints his prey and goes in for the kill.

3. Rafael Cavalcante

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    Commonly overlooked when it comes to world-class light heavyweight contenders, Brazilian Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante resembles an angry German tank.

    His power leaps off the charts on almost every occasion, which is why the former Strikeforce kingpin carries 11 knockouts in just 12 victories.

    It's only a matter of time before Cavalcante punches his way to the top of the UFC's most stagnant weight class.

2. Conor McGregor

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    One look at Conor McGregor, and it's easy to tell he's got some screws loose.

    But that's OK. Crazy is good, especially when it comes to fighting inside a cage.

    The fact that the Irish phenom backs up all that crazy with sensational stand-up, crushing ground-and-pound and a bravado unseen among fellow featherweights is simply icing on the cake.

    Nobody on this list possesses more long-term potential than this man.

1. Ronaldo Souza

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    Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza was already one of the most scariest fighters around when he was just submitting dudes, so you can imagine how terrified UFC middleweights are now that the veteran has started to floor opponents with his hands.

    As one of the most accomplished fighters on the UFC roster, Souza is often held at a higher regard. But based on his two crushing victories in 2013, the 34-year-old has lived up to his billing.

    He's arguably the most fearsome fighter in MMA right now.

     

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