Top Five Most Marketable Current UFC Fighters: A Fan's View (Yahoo! Contributor Network)


By Eric Holden,

UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones (15-1) is slated to square off against 32-year-old Rashad Evans, a former champion, on April 21 at UFC 145 in a bout that features two of the most marketable fighters in the league today.

UFC president Dana White.
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According to a Yahoo! Sports report, Jones is the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, followed close behind by No. 10-ranked Evans (22-1-1).

Here's a closer look at the top five most marketable fighters in the UFC today:

1) Rashad Evans

Evans' personality is ready-made for television appearances and commercials. He has already made successful appearances both as an athlete and coach on multiple seasons of the Ultimate Fighter reality show, while also earning a nice payday for his appearance in a Microsoft commercial in 2008.

If that doesn't show you how far the sport of mixed martial arts has come, maybe Evans' pre-fight and press conference wardrobe will. The 32-year-old's stylish, tailor-made suits and expertly groomed facial hair are far cries from the street brawler image of the UFC in the early 1990s.

2) Jon Jones

Ever since the UFC struck up a deal with Fox, they have been pushing to turn Jones into a household name. The baby-faced 24-year-old champ often appears on Fox pre-fight shows to offer some insight into his upcoming fights and to get his face on national television.

The UFC desperately needs to develop talented young stars to ease the pain of losing older fighters who are close to retirement, and that is exactly what Jon Jones provides.

With the likes of Matt Hughes, Tito Ortiz, Quinton Jackson and Rich Franklin close to the end of the line in the UFC, Jones can step in to become a legend in the league is he keeps up his recent pace.

3) Chael Sonnen

UFC President Dana White once called Sonnen "the best trash-talker since Muhammad Ali," and that means big ratings for the league.

Sonnen's huge personality adds plenty of hype to his fights, and his upcoming fight with Anderson Silva has become even more "must-watch" because of his constant verbal jabs at the champ.

I used to love WWF wrestling heroes of the 1990s like the Ultimate Warrior and the "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Sonnen brings a little bit of that WWF swagger into the UFC.

4) Quinton Jackson

Jackson says he's leaving the UFC to start a rap career following his fight against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, and the league will be losing one of its most marketable fighters if he does.

Jackson's ridiculous personality landed him roles as a coach in the Ultimate Fighter reality show, and a big-screen role as B.A. Baracus in the 2010 film "The A-Team."

"If there ain't nobody for me to fight, then I won't fight," Jackson said in a Sherdog interview. "I don't have to fight no more. That's what the fans don't understand. I've got other stuff going on."

5) Stephan Bonnar

34-year-old Stephan Bonnar may be a fan favorite because of his iron chin, but his hilarious personality and eloquent speaking abilities made him one of the most marketable fighters in the UFC today.

Recently, he's done color commentating for the WEC and analyst work for UFC broadcasts on Fox and FX. Bonnar is on a three-fight win streak, but he's best known for his three-round war with Forrest Griffin in 2005.

Who else should be on this list? Let me know in the comments.

Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and follower of the sport of mixed martial arts. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.

Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.

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