The UFC has over 600 fighters on their roster. However, not all of them can become superstars. Every year, a small group delivers standout performances that helps them become MMA stars.
We look at 5 upcoming prospects, who could become the breakout stars of 2021.
#5 Adrian Yanez
UFC bantamweight prospect Adrian Yanez started his career in the Octagon with a bang. He has had two fights in the UFC and finished both of his opponents. Yanez even finished one of his opponents via a stunning head kick. The bantamweight also won his fight on the Dana White Contender Series fight via a first-round knockout.
The American has a pro-MMA record of 13-3 with 8 KOs and is on a 6-fight win streak. Yanez has showcased spectacular striking in the Octagon and has the potential to become a future superstar in the UFC's bantamweight division.
#4 Marina Rodriguez
The Brazilian strawweight fighter became a fighter to watch after she upset the much-hyped Amanda Ribas at UFC 257. Rodrigeuz was a massive underdog heading into the fight but pulled off a stunning second-round knockout of her Brazilian compatriot.
Rodriguez is now ranked #6 in the UFC strawweight division with a professional record of 13-1-2. Rodriguez holds UFC victories over veterans of the sport like Tecia Torres and Jessica Aguilar. The future looks bright for this up-and-coming strawweight contender.
#3 Sean O'Malley
One of the most exciting prospects in the UFC, ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley has captured the attention of MMA fans worldwide. The UFC bantamweight has an impressive record of 12-1 with 8 KO victories.
O'Malley's knockout of Eddie Wineland at UFC 250 was nominated for KO of the Year in 2021 by many MMA publications.
He will be looking to bounce back against Thomas Almeida this weekend after suffering his first professional MMA loss to Marlon Vera at UFC 252 in 2020.
#2 Jiri Prochazka
Jiří Procházka didn’t waste any time in his UFC light heavyweight debut against Vulcan Oezdemir. The Czech fighter demolished the former title challenger in the second round via knockout.
Procházka has a pro-MMA record of 27-3-1, with 24 of his wins coming through knockouts. His fan-friendly striking style and power could catapult him into global superstardom in 2021.
The Czech is currently ranked 5th in the UFC light heavyweight rankings and is scheduled to face another former title challenger in Dominick Reyes at UFC Fight Night 188 on May 1st.
#1 Ciryl Gane
Undefeated UFC heavyweight Ciryl Gane may be the hottest prospect in MMA. The French fighter only started his career in 2018 but already has the look of a future UFC champion.
Gane has an all-round game as evidenced by his record of 3 knockouts and 3 submissions. Gane is ranked #4 in the UFC heavyweight division and is destined to challenge for the title in the near future.