At this time of year everyone does these things, guessing who will be champions at the year end. So what the hell, I’ll give it a shot.
Men first starting with the heavies.
Ok this one is seems simply enough to me, a straight choice between Miocic and Ngannou. Miocic has beaten just about everyone and has been very impressive doing it and Ngannou has looked unstoppable so far. Whoever wins this fight holds the belt for at least a year.
The only person I can see possibly beating these guys is Cain Velasquez who has been plagued by injury for years. Cain says he will be back this year but he has also said he is in no rush for gold. Truth is though, the heavyweight division is so slim of real talent that Cain could have a fight in the summer then a title shot at years end and it’s hard to bet against a fit and healthy Cain.
That aside though I think Miocic beats Ngannou this time, I expect them to fight again later but this time Miocic experience pays off and he gets the win and keeps the belt for the year.
Champ at years end – Stipe Miocic
DC is a worthy champion an amazing fighter and is clearly one of the best light heavyweights of all time……except there is one guy clearly better than him. That’s a huge influence on how this goes. This all depends on what happens with the Jon Jones situation because honestly I don’t see Cormier beating him. Thing is though even if Jones is vindicated he will still serve some sort of suspension and I don’t know how long he could be out for and when he’s back do they rush him into a title shot? He’s been champion twice and he’s been stripped twice, that’s some record he has there.
Lets pretend though that Jones is out of the picture because he probably is. Cormier is fighting Oezdemir next and although I think DC is a big favorite to win, Oezdemir has a habit of making people fall down when he touches them. That’s said I still expect Cormier to win pretty convincingly. So DC fights and defends his title January 20th then what? Well for me the obvious next guy is Alexander Gustafsson, who was very impressive in his dismantling of Glover Teixeira and if he gets the fight and I think Gus upsets him this time and becomes next champion.
Champ at years end – Alexander Gustafsson
Robert Whittaker is undisputed middle weight champion now that GSP has walked away and what a run he is on. Brunson, Jacare and Romero are his last three fights and his last three wins. He fights Luke Rockhold in Australia in February but I expect Rockhold to beat him.
After that there are a lot of contenders vying for position. Yoel Romero fights David Branch and Derek Brunson fights Jacare all at the start of the year. Then there Chris Weidman still up there and Kelvin Gastelum looking to progress from his KO of Bisping.
Any one of those guys could get a title shot this year, except Branch probably. If Jacare beats Brunson I would expect him to go to the front of the line. I think Rockhold would beat Jacare again and I’m thinking maybe a rematch with Weidman would happen but not sure it would be inside the year, either way Rockhold retains.
Champ at years end – Luke Rockhold
Tyron Woodley is the champion currently and has defended it three times, twice against Stephen Thompson and once Demian Maia. Woodley is coming back from surgery but wants to fight in the first quarter of the year.
Main contenders seem to be Rafael dos Anjos and Colby Covington but good wins from Kamaru Usman and Darren Till puts them right behind them. Stephen Thompson thinks he’s still the man and everyone should be behind him but he should step back and hope someone takes the belt from Woodley because as long as Woodley is champ he is very unlikely to get another shot.
However it plays out, I think RDA gets a shot by years end and I think he takes the belt.
Champ at years end – Rafael Dos Anjos
Right so Conor McGregor is champion but not really and nobody knows if he’s coming back. Tony Ferguson is Interim champion. Khabib Nurmagomedov is the clear number one contender.
There are other contenders I guess but who gives a fuck about them right now, no offense meant.
Dana White has said that McGregor needs to fight this summer or be stripped. Lot of people saying that his next fight will be GSP, which would be huge but he needs to give up the belt. If he fights anyone at lightweight it will be Ferguson to unite the titles. Personally I think McGregor vacates and then if Ferguson fights Khabib he loses.
Champ at years end – Khabib Nurmagomedov
Max Holoway has been very impressive these last few years, genuinely a guy who improves with every fight. Aldo is clearly the number two guy in the division an Holloway has stopped him twice.
Two guys are clearly ready for that title shot and they are Frankie Edgar and Brian Ortega and Frankie’s next at UFC 220. I heard someone else say that Josh Emmett next fight will be a title eliminator but I couldn’t see that just yet.
Frankie and Brian offer two completely different challenges but I thinks Holloway could deal with them both. Out of the two, Ortega is probably the more difficult option but I don’t see Max making the mistakes others make or getting caught with anything.
Champ at years end – Max Holloway
A good competitive division. Dillashaw beat Garbrandt, Garbrandt beat Cruz, Cruz beat Dillashaw. Those three are top dogs but there are a few more within touching distance.
Assuncao probably deserves a shot but him and TJ already fought twice. I expect Jimmie Rivera and Marlon Moraes to be in the title picture but not this year maybe. A lot depends on if TJ does get him super fight with Mighty Mouse but whatever happens TJ will be very hard to beat.
Champ at years end – TJ Dillashaw
Demetrious Johnson is simply the most dominant champion in the sport, record breaking and lot of people consider him the GOAT. He’s cleaned out his division. Literally it seems there is no challenge for him at the weight.
The only real challenge seems to be Dillashaw moving down and challenging for the belt but so far DJ hasn’t seemed keen on this. He also doesn’t seem keen on testing himself by moving up in weight so he will probably stick to having rematches with people he knows he’s better than.
If TJ gets a shot I think he wins but with him having a belt it complicates things and I don’t see the fight happening.
Champ at years end – Demetrious Johnson
Who else is there at ladies 145lbs? Doesn’t matter none of them are beating Cyborg .
Champ at years end – Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino
A lot more competition for Amanda Nunes in this division although Dana wants her to fight Cyborg next. People are talking about Pennington getting the next shot and Pena is up there but the only one I see possibly beating her is Shevchenko and she ain’t getting a title shot this year in this division.
Champ at years end – Amanda Nunes
The UFCs newest division, where Nicco Montano is champion after winning TUF. What’s next? Who knows, the division is wide open. I would expect Eubanks to get her shot but Paige Vanzant is at flyweight now and we know that the UFC love to push the cute blondes and there are rumors that Valentina Shevchenko wants to fight here so that’s my shout.
Champ at years end – Valentina Shevchenko
Although Rose is a worthy champion and I’m glad she won for her own sake I honestly think Joanna wins the belt back when they fight again but im not sure if that’s the immediate plan. After Rose and Joanna the division is up for grabs. Personally I would love to see Andrade fight Rose but the UFC seem to have high hopes for Calvillo so she will probably get squeezed in there somewhere. Regardless, I think Joanna has the belt by the time the year is out.
Champ at years end – Joanna Jedrzejczyk