During this MMA hiatus, we’ve been scouting the globe to find you the best MMA prospects from each country. As the sport returns from its pandemic-induced slumber, we’re wrapping up — but we have just a little more to go. In this edition, we take a look at some of the top fighting prospects coming out of the United States. It’s easy to go on and on about the talent the U.S. has produced. Just a few of the active fighters are Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Henry Cejudo (retirement pending), Stipe Miocic, Tony Ferguson, and so many more.
Middleweight, Kyle Daukaus (9-0)
Kyle Daukaus had a big year in 2019. He beat former UFC fighter Jonavin Webb, earned a win on the Contender Series, and defended his Cage Fury FC title twice. On the feet, Daukaus is not great but throws a lot of volume and is very good using his length. He’s much more versed on the mat and his wrestling to get in there is good. Daukaus has a good submission base with seven wins by submission with his D’Arce choke being a prime choice. He’s active with his submission attempts and his ground and pound as well.
Bantamweight, Jose Johnson (11-5)
Despite being only 24, Jose Johnson has an amazing amount of experience. Not only is he 11-5 as a pro but he has an extensive amateur career going 68-12. At a point in his pro career, Jose was 5-4 but since late 2018 he’s looked much improved. In fact Johnson has looked stellar as of late. He is now on a five-fight win streak, all finishes in the first round. He will struggle with takedown defense but is good off his back with solid jiu-jitsu. On the feet is where he excels and is a very dangerous fighter. Johnson is good at range with long strikes and an effective teep kick. He’s lethal in the clinch with excellent Muay Thai bringing in deadly elbows and knees. Such an athletic guy and only 24, you have to like where he is headed.
Light heavyweight, Alex Polizzi (6-0)
Undefeated as a pro and as an amateur going 7-0 combined, Alex Polizzi has the recipe to be a big prospect in the 205lb weight class. Polizzi was a D1 wrestler at Northwestern University from 2010-2015 and was a state champion. In his most recent bout, he beat and finished former UFC fighter Daniel Jolly and Jamal Pogues who is a top prospect. Polizzi needs work on his stand-up but his wrestling and athleticism will take him far. His ground and pound have been his best weapon to date. He’s never been outside the second round but his pressure and relentless style (a.k.a. his cardio) have held up just fine.
Welterweight, Matt Dixon (9-0)
Matt Dixon is a good boxer who displays a solid jab and a check left hook. He does a good job going to the body-head with his hands ripping with good placement. His striking wouldn’t be as good without his excellent kickboxing and vice-versa. On the feet, his kickboxing is arguably his best aspect. The wrestling from Dixon is his best attribute. Dixon has an excellent double leg takedown that he times very well. He will wait until his opponent comes in before he changes levels using their momentum against them to get the easy dump takedown. For more on Dixon check out our Prospect of the Month piece from February.
Lightweight, Max Rohskopf (5-0)
Max Rohskopf grew up wrestling and would become quite good at it, winning the 2016 ACC Championship at NC State. There isn’t much MMA footage on him, but he has shown some good power in his hands and obviously good wrestling. Outside of that, he has a textbook jab and heavy leg kicks and even more excellent grappling. Two fights ago he took out DWCS veteran Zach Zane so he’s already proven he can fight at the next level up. We spoke to Max back in February ahead of his Titan FC debut.