(A preview of Gustafsson’s placement on the list? There’s only one way to find out.)
A great man once said that geology was the study of pressure and time. That man’s name was Red, and although he was simply using the phrase as a metaphor for prison life, he could’ve just as easily been talking about hype. Because hype, not unlike geology, has the ability to form diamonds from coal, and just as easily crush the greatest boulders into dust.
As MMA fans, we know the hype game more than any; if we’re not prematurely declaring it “The_____Era,” then we’re likely discrediting legends of the sport, even going as far to say that their wins never held any validity in the first place. Sounds insane, doesn’t it? Well, welcome to the world of cyberhype, the deadliest, fastest spreading strand of hype there is. And as with Kei$ha and CSI spin-offs, there is little we can do to stop this disease, so instead we’ll just try and act like we were into it before it got popular.
Here are five of the hottest prospects in the UFC, ranked in order of how long we knew about them before you did.
5. Stephen Thompson
Last three fights: (W) Dan Stittgen via KO, (W) Patrick Mandio via UD, (W) William Kuhn via UD
There isn’t much we can say about Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson that his kickboxing and MMA records don’t. The man has strung together 63 consecutive wins in mixed competition, most recently starching Daniel Stittgen ^ at UFC 143. The hype surrounding Thompson has been overlooked by some, and will be put to the test when he takes on TUF 7 vet Matt Brown at UFC 145.