One of the truly great things in martial arts is the global talent pool. Exciting athletes are coming from all walks of life from all around the globe. However, some of those names get overlooked or never get to compete against elite competition.
ONE Championship provides that elite competition. Asia's largest sports media company has given talent a global stage to share their gifts, and they are always looking for the next wave of athletes to step up and shine.
Who could be next? Let's take a look at six names that could be at the top of any list.
Alex "Poatan" Pereira (3-1 MMA, 33-6 Kickboxing)
With ONE's commitment to martial arts, Alex Pereira is clearly one of the top candidates in the game today. A former Glory kickboxing champion would slot right into the ONE Super Series slate, but Pereira's transition into mixed martial arts is what seals the deal.
"Poatan" had one of 2020's best knockouts when he returned to the sport against Thomas Powell and ignited discussions about how he would do against the elite. In ONE, we would get that answer.
The ability to compete across kickboxing and mixed martial arts instead of choosing just one should be an enticing option for the Brazilian who trains in Connecticut. And if things go well, he could also jump into the Muay Thai ranks to chase three-sport gold as well.
Yasmine Jauregui (5-0)
Yasmine Jauregui could be one of the most unheralded prospects in the game today, but if she made a splash on the global scene in ONE, then she could surge into stardom very quickly.
Jauregui is an athlete with a fan-pleasing style. She is aggressive and has rare power for the atomweight division. With an unblemished record, Jauregui would only need a couple of dazzling performances before jumping into the title hunt.
Perhaps even more importantly, Jauregui could help carry the banner of Mexico into ONE. The country has seen exceptional growth in mixed martial arts, and Jauregui becoming a central figure in the biggest martial arts organization would be another huge feather in their cap. It could be a perfect marriage for both parties.
Collin "Young Huck" Huckbody (10-3)
The MMA Lab's latest addition, Collin Huckbody, has showcased his talents on the regional scene for the last few years, and now may be the right time for him to take the leap into the big leagues.
Huckbody, formerly of Minnesota, has a solid ground game and is sharpening his whole skill set in Arizona. Should he make the leap to ONE, Huckbody would quickly test where he stands in the world.
The 26-year-old will be entering his athletic prime shortly, and that is as good a time as any to take the step-up in competition.
Jarrah "The Jordanian Lion" Hussein Al-Selawi (16-3)
At the top of the list should be Jarrah Hussein Al-Silawi. The Jordanian may be the top pound-for-pound athlete in the Middle East, and he has won 11 of his last 12 professional bouts.
ONE has talent from across the globe, and they have already brought in significant talent from the region. Adding in arguably its best talent would be tremendous for the region's martial arts growth. And should the Brave CF champion become a factor in the stacked lightweight division, it would make for huge matchups with compelling storylines.
"The Jordanian Lion" has a 69% finishing rate with six knockouts and five submissions. The well-rounded abilities he has already shown prove he is ready for the next step in his career.
Juan "Leadfeather" Puerta (22-6)
Juan Puerta is on an 11-match winning streak, which should signal he is ready for the next step in his career. The 33-year-old has already defeated Gustavo Balart, currently on the ONE roster, to show he can compete against its talent.
The American Top Team representative is dangerous on the canvas. "Leadfeather" has 12 submission victories on his record and could be an immediate threat in the bantamweight division.
There are a lot of fun matchups for Puerta on the global stage, and with his recent string of victories, there is little reason why he couldn't get a chance to prove himself on a global platform.
Eduard "Lionheart" Vartanyan (22-4)
Eduard Vartanyan has amassed his 22-4 professional record within the confines of his home country, Russia. But should he want to branch out and show his skills to a global audience, Vartanyan would be served well by joining the ONE ranks.
ONE has already brought in top talent from the country, and Russian talent has shined under the bright lights. There is little holding Vartanyan back from doing the same, but he has yet to leave the comfort of his home. There are plenty of featherweights awaiting him in one of the hottest divisions in the sport.
Additionally, the Russian has a popular YouTube channel that would bring his own fanbase into the organization, which could help him get bigger matchups right out of the gate. Currently, on a four-match winning streak, Vartanyan has the opportunity to extend that streak against better opposition and position himself as one of the best in the world.