The UFC is gearing up for another massive year in 2022. There are already big time title fights on the books for next year and one already features a man who was considered a top prospect to start 2021.
That man is UFC interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane. Entering 2021, Gane was 7-0 and he had just defeated Junior Dos Santos. Given his lack of experience, many still considered him to be a prospect.
Well, he went 3-0 this year and captured the interim heavyweight title. He will be fighting for the undisputed title next month. The other top prospect entering 2021 was Khamzat Chimaev.
Now, Chimaev was kept out of action most of the year due to covid. However, he didn’t disappoint in his lone appearance. He fought Li Jingliang at UFC 267 and completely dismantled him.
That win shot Chimeav up into the UFC’s welterweight rankings. He’s likely going to get a top opponent next and he could very well fight for the welterweight title this year.
With that in mind, who are the top male prospects in the UFC entering 2022? While there’s a ton of options out there, I wanted to focus on two fighters from across the pond.
UFC Prospects to Watch
The first fighter that I want to focus on is Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett (17-3). Paddy The Baddy made his highly anticipated UFC debut back in September when he took on Luigi Vendramini.
It wasn’t a flawless performance as Pimblett took a few good shots. However, he stormed back and knocked Vendramini out and showed the world why there are so many people high on him.
I’m expecting some big things from Pimblett this year. There’s already talks about the UFC booking him against Donald Cerrone. A win over Cowboy would be big in terms of building up the Pimblett name.
The next fighter I’m focusing in on has a little Conor McGregor vibe to him. That would be Ireland’s Ian Garry (8-0). Garry is already saying he’s the takeover part two after his UFC debut.
Garry made his debut at UFC 268 when he took on Jordan Williams. In the arena where Conor McGregor became a two-division world champion, Garry knocked Williams out with a step back shot that McGregor would be proud of.
I definitely see the competition level increasing for Garry this year. However, I think the UFC will bring him along gradually. He’s a massive welterweight that will remind you of McGregor at featherweight.