The UFC is a large playground for some of the toughest and fiercest mixed martial artists.

These are some fighters worth keeping an eye on as they rise in this sport.

It makes sense that heavyweight Brendan Schaub (8-1) looks up to Nate Marquardt (31-10) and former student of Marquardt, Shane Carwin (12-2). Both are champion level fighters and have started out like him. For the most part, Schaub wins his fights by arm barring his opponent once he takes him down.  Known as The Hybrid, Schaub is coming off a knockout win over Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic.

It's not surprising that the 12th season winner of UFC Jonathan Brookins (12-3) is a hungry fighter.  He changed classes from lightweight to featherweight for his September fight with Erik Koch (12-1).  When Brookins struggles with an opponent, he doesn't hesitate to get out of the clinch using his punching and elbow skills.  Dropping a weight class has given him the advantage to get on top in the beginning of a fight and use strikes or single-leg takedowns to win by submission.

Haitian-born Yves Jabouin (22-7) is a heavy-hitting featherweight.  Many of his victories were by knock out or TKO.  Jabouin also uses his legs to weaken his opposition.  He knows how to precisely strike with low kicks or high kicks. This gets his opponents down to the mat, especially when his opponent isn't apt to blocking the low kicks.

Apart of the Brazilian special police force, welterweight Paulo Thiago (13-3) is no stranger to survival. His dominating submissions have helped him employ his strength in choke holds when fighting.  Thiago's strong chin is very important for maintaining durability in his fights.  He is able to navigate just fine through slews of punches and high kicks.

Dan Hardy (23-9) credits the teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as his inspiration to be a ninja that lead him to the UFC.  The six foot welterweight has stamina on his side when he's in the octagon and he doesn't wear out easily.  His speedy hands enable him to break down his opponent.  Between trading strikes, his opponent may not even see his second or third lightning fast punches coming his way.

Each of these attention grabbing fighters possess an array of unique strengths in their rise in UFC.  The versatility amongst them makes it exciting to watch. They can be up-and-coming now, but tomorrow, they could be legends.