UFC news: Dana White names his fighters to watch in 2021

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White’s imperious marketing strategy helped the UFC to be a roaring success in 2020, even despite the coronavirus pandemic.

By continuing to deliver entertainment with clever and creative solutions such as the Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, ensuring that the MMA fans got to see fights on a consistent basis, something that seemed unlikely at best when the pandemic began.

But, along with the fans, many fighters were given a chance to flourish throughout the year, and White has named his top three picks, who he expects to further bolster their reputation coming into the new year.

Asked on ‘SHOUT! Buffalo Podcast’ for his three to watch, White said: “Obviously, Khamzat Chimaev. What I love about that kid is that he wants to fight all the time.

“The guys that are as good as him and want to fight all the time, not everybody wants to fight him, so it’s tough to make fights.

“Sprinkle some COVID on top of that and here we are.

“Everybody was asking this weekend why he pulled out of the (Leon Edwards) fight. He got COVID. He’s a savage.

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“He tried to get back in the gym and train through it but I guess his lungs didn’t respond well.

“The doctor wants him to take some time off until he trains again. He doesn’t even want him to start training until January.”

Chimaev has built a dangerous reputation in both the welterweight and middleweight divisions, with his brawling style and strong grappling techniques leading to comparisons with Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The second fighter that White selected was Kevin Holland, who’s impressive level of activity and form allowed him to equal the record for the most wins in a calendar year, with five.

With the opponents in four of his five victories succumbing to knockout defeats, Holland’s killer instinct is clear for all to see.

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And, if that wasn’t enough, he also picked up three performance of the night bonuses in his knockout wins against Joaquin Buckley, Charlie Ontiveros and Ronaldo Souza respectively.

When describing Holland, White said: “Then you got Kevin Holland. Just like Chimaev he wants to fight all the time. The kid went 5-0 in 2020.

“He’s fun, he’s exciting. Good looking kid.”

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And the final fighter of choice was the headline grabbing Joaquin Buckley, who avenged a loss to Holland with an incredible knockout of Impa Kasangnay, that is already talked about as a contender for one of the best UFC knockouts ever.

Buckley also claimed a performance of the night bonus in November with a knockout win against Jordan Wright.

White added: “And another one would be Joaquin Buckley, who had in 2020 — not one in 2020 but ever — he had one of the most viral moments in UFC history with that knockout he had (over Impa Kasanganay). So those are just three.”

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