Fighting: Who is NEXT?
If Eddie Alvarez was MMA's coveted free agent coming out of Bellator, imagine what that means for Michael Chandler's stock. At Bellator 58, Chandler took the promotions' lightweight belt from Alvarez in one of the best fights of 2011, finishing in the fourth round by rear-naked choke. A bedrock All-American wrestler from the University of Missouri, Chandler is a Molotov cocktail in mixed martial arts. The back-and-forth Alvarez fight proved his chin and heart, but his ...
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Every year since 1998, ESPN The Magazine has recognized an elite group of emerging athletes to watch in the year ahead -- athletes we call NEXT. They are competitors not only on the cusp of stardom, but on the verge of transcending their sports. NEXT is what happens when the hype is real.