MMA in Canada has been rapidly evolving these days. It has gone from the land of few and far between to a land that is a potential powerhouse for talent.
Most of the fighters from Canada are young, up-and-coming guys that are still bursting onto the scene. Other than a handful of UFC fighters from Canada who are already in the upper echelon of the organization, many of the old veterans were never really among the elites, while the younger guys are still looking to chisel their name into MMA’s bedrock.
As of right now, Georges St-Pierre is the golden boy of Canadian MMA. He is a huge money draw in that country, has a die-hard following and is a marketing machine due to his dominance and personality.
When he eventually hangs up the gloves and calls it a career, who will pick up the torch left behind by one of the greatest fighters of all-time?
As of right now, his protege and near-carbon copy Rory MacDonald has to be considered a front-runner. He is beginning to gather a cult following due to his polished skills, GSP-like tool set and winning ways.
Another guy who could step up to assume GSP’s role when he eventually makes the move to the UFC is Jordan Mein. Mein is currently a Strikeforce fighter who will likely move over to the UFC when Strikeforce folds next year. Mein is a great all-around fighter, which is a look into the ever-evolving mixed martial artist we are now seeing.
Other UFC Canadians that have really made a splash and could be potential contenders would include T.J. Grant and Ryan Jimmo.
Grant has made the move from welterweight to lightweight and he has been immensely successful since then. His wins at 155 include victories over Shane Roller, Carlo Prater and Evan Dunham.
Jimmo has only had one UFC fight, but it was a seven-second drubbing of Anthony Perosh. Jimmo has not lost a professional MMA bout since his first career fight. Since then, he has rattled off 17 straight wins against mid-level talent. If he can add a big win to his resume, he could easily pick up the Canadian torch.
There is much talent yet to be discovered in Canada, and there are others hanging just under the radar. Ryan Ford and Josh Hill are two men that are waiting in the shadows to make an imprint on the MMA world. It is just a matter of time before those two get on the map and gain a loyal cult following from their respective mainstream successes.
Canada is not short on guys who can step up when the old guard steps out of the picture. In fact, they may have an abundance of names that could keep Canada’s MMA scene rolling for years to come.
Photo: Rory MacDonald celebrates his UFC 145 win (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)