Looking for what to expect at Capcom Cup IX? Here’s four players out of the massive field to keep watch on, including a former champion.

The long road of qualifiers, last chances, and LAN tournaments is coming to ahead. Capcom Cup IX takes place starting Feb. 12 and sees over 50 entrants from around the globe vying for what will be the final Capcom Pro Tour title in the Street Fighter V era. There's a number of seasoned veterans in the field. However, it appears that the Capcom Cup brackets will have a number of unfamiliar faces for those out of the loop.

We're here to step you through four names to know going into Capcom Cup IX in Hollywood, which includes a budding rivalry, the next generation coming to claim gold, and an area of the world looking to take a title home.

Capcom Cup IX: The 16 year-old phenom

Young rising stars are nothing new in the FGC. It's often that the fresh faces of fighting games come early for the crown from the current generation, and the UK's EndingWalker is no different. Coming to prominence in the Capcom Pro Tour qualifiers out of the EU, EndingWalker and his main character choice Ed stormed the scene.

The young champion will look to capitalize off recent showings in the Saltmine League and Ultimate Fighting Arena. EndingWalker is a favorite in his Group D category and will attempt to take the title of youngest Capcom Cup champion iDom. Will Capcom Cup IX be all EndingWalker?

Speaking of iDom...

iDom wants his title back

Derek "iDom" Ruffin is no stranger to Capcom Cup. The brutally aggressive American player took Capcom Cup gold in 2019 over his consummate rival, Punk, while proving that the likes of Laura and Poison could carry gold. Since that time iDom hasn't slowed down. Recent victories include CEO 2022, Defend the North, and the CPT Regional US East finals in commanding fashion over Japan's KUDO.

You can never count former champions out of the mix and Capcom Cup IX looks no different. Ruffin must be considered a front-runner, but one old rivalry could be standing in his way.

Punk won't go to sleep

<em>Victor 'Punk' Woodley plays with his boxing gloves at Red Bull Kumite in Las Vegas, NV, USA on 14 November, 2021.</em>
Victor 'Punk' Woodley plays with his boxing gloves at Red Bull Kumite in Las Vegas, NV, USA on 14 November, 2021.

It's been a notable year for Victor 'Punk' Woodley. Starting his FGC career in 2009, Punk is now an elder statesman of the FGC and ever the statement-maker. He's also known to rile up opponents and crowds alike, once stating after Capcom Cup 2017 that "I like when people boo me. It motivates me to keep winning. I don't even have to respond back."

That attention-grabbing mentality has led to headlines. This includes Punk leaving Panda Global earlier in the year amid the org's owner-related controversies. And still, Punk must be considered a contender. Punk struggled at consistent top-finishes for the last year. However, he did take a commanding first place finish at the CPT Online NA East event and World Warrior.

Will iDom and Punk get in each other's way and reignite their rivalry? They will be in separate brackets to begin, but surely the two Americans will bump into each other one way or another.

The great hope of the UAE

The Middle East is a region not always known for its FGC scene. Which is a shame, as multiple contenders out of the area have arisen in fighters for the past decade. Amjad "AngryBird" Alshalabi hopes to silence those naysayers and make Capcom Cup IX history by being the first grand finals winner from the UAE. His recent record shows that its possible; with a string of victories in World Warrior online events and strong showings at Intel World Stadium.

Rocking the somewhat out-of-meta character choice of Ken, Alshalabi will need to fight his way out of Group F. This bracket also features Nathan "Mister Crimson" Massol, who has been a constant opponent of AngryBird throughout the year. However, only one can make it out and become champion.

Stay tuned to Esports.gg for more Capcom Cup IX and esports news as it develops.