1. Ronda Rousey
Sexy, smart, Olympian, world champion. Talks the talk and walks the walk. ESPN Body Issue cover, enough said. By far the most marketable and even under-marketed fighter in the world.
With his next fight coming in November to unify the belts with interim champion Carlos Condit, GSP’s marketability will continue to rise. If he wins against Condit, which I believe he will in dominant fashion, then there are only two other real interesting fights for him at 170lbs, Johnny Hendricks and Stockton’s own Nick Diaz. If the champ can get through these two opponents, the fight that makes the most sense is the long talked about super-fight against the spider, Anderson Silva. With his title as MMA’s pay-per-view king, clean image, and a possible record breaking super-fight with Silva, GSP nears the top of the list.
(2). Anderson Silva
Best in the world. Sponsored by Nike. Greatest ever.
3. Joseph Benavidez
Scheduled to headline UFC 152, where he will be fighting for the inaugural flyweight title, the marketability of Benavidez could potentially sky rocket. He is already the reigning champion of the UFC’s twitter bonus ($5,000 awarded to the fighter who most creatively uses twitter), and according to just about everyone in the MMA community who isn’t named Demetrious Johnson, he will potentially the 125lb champion for a LONG LONG time. Self proclaimed as the UFC’s most fashionable fighter, Benavidez is an exciting fan favorite who will also attract the Mexican demographic.
4. Rory McDonald
The UFC’s most promising young prospect, the 23 year old McDonald promises to be a destroyer at 170lbs for years to come. The well spoken, intelligent, and clean cut Canadian is a “GSP weight-class -change” away from the title.
5. Jon Jones
The only thing keeping Jon Jones from the top spot is his recent DUI arrest, and how he will handle the situation. After his fight with Dan Henderson at UFC 151 in Las Vegas, Jones will have wiped the slate clean at light heavyweight. What is next for Jones would be big money super fights with big marketability.
Future Top 5 Potential: Nate Diaz, Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez
Up and coming: Lance Palmer
A member of a legendary Ohio wrestling family, Palmer is a fourtime all-american wrestler training at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, CA with the likes of Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes, and Joseph Benavidez. Already possessing a professional record of 3-0, “The Party,” might soon be seeing a UFC contract come his way. Fighting at 145lbs, Palmer has the wrestling credentials and natural athleticism to be a potential long time champion. With a childhood spent wrestling bears (Seriously! Google it), Palmer, is a character who I predict would be absolutely loved by the fans. Enormous marketability potential.