Not long ago, it looked like Alex Caceres was on the fast track to the chopping block. He opened up his UFC career 0-2, both of which were rear-naked chokes to Mackens Semerzier and Jim Hettes.

Caceres was lucky to have the UFC brass on his side for two reasons. The first is that usually an Ultimate Fighter cast member who loses his UFC debut gets cut. It’s just how it goes. Second, he went 0-2, a record that usually gets a guy cut after his first two UFC appearances.

Still, Caceres was given another shot.

Fast forward to Caceres’s last two fights. “Bruce Leeroy” owns wins over stiff competition in the form of Damacio Page and Motonobu Tezuka, a big change from his first two UFC fights. This two-fight winning streak could have been a four-fight streak, seeing as he defeated Cole Escovedo to save his job, but then lost a very controversial bout to Edwin Figueroa.

In summary, Caceres is maturing before our eyes.

Caceres started his UFC career as an immature, annoying cast member of TUF that didn’t look like he’d amount to much beyond a reality-show princess. He had potential, but his immaturity was in danger of wasting that.

Now, Caceres has earned a spot as one of the fastest rising bantamweights in the UFC. He is very close to breaking the top 20, due to his maturity growth.

He is well-rounded. Although he is a flashy striker, he is incredibly underrated on the ground and especially off his back. Take him down, and you may have yourself fighting out of a triangle choke or armbar attempt.

It’s too soon to tell if he will be a contender, but it’s not completely unheard of. He is young, vastly improving and on the rise. Sure he’s not elite yet, but there is time for him to become so.

This weekend, Caceres takes on an experienced newcomer with big-time potential in Kyung Ho Kang. This is a fight that is vital for Caceres, as it will either extend his winning streak or break it. A victory for Caceres could lead to bigger things in the future.

Photo: Alex Caceres (L) delivers a kick (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.