Today, I’m going to predict who will be holding UFC gold this time next year. Since there are twelve divisions in total, I’m going to start with the men’s Flyweight division and finish with the Middleweight division in part one. Then in part two, I’ll start with the Light Heavyweight division and finish with the Women’s Featherweight division (if that still exists this time next year.)
Flyweight Division – Deiveson Figueiredo
Figueiredo is the current 125lbs champion and I expect him to hold that belt for the foreseeable future. Currently, his biggest contender in the Flyweight division is the scale. I know Brandon Moreno pushed Deiveson to a draw at UFC 256 but the champion was in hospital on the day of the fight, so he clearly wasn’t 100%. The only way I don’t see Figueiredo holding the Flyweight belt at the end of 2021 is if Cody Garbrandt comes down from the Bantamweight division and beats him. Apart from that, I genuinely don’t see anyone beating Figueiredo at the moment.
Bantamweight Division – Henry Cejudo
I know you didn’t expect this one did you? Yes, I believe the man who ‘retired’ at UFC 249 will be the Bantamweight champion at the end of next year. I believe that Cejudo will return to the UFC to fight Cody Garbrandt in March, win the fight, then either beat Petr Yan or Aljamain Sterling for the belt at the October PPV. This one is out of the box, but it’s not impossible.
Featherweight Division – Alexander Volkanovski
I totally forgot this division existed. There hasn’t been much going on in the Featherweight division as of late. I’m not sure if we’re going to see Holloway vs Volkanovski 3 if Max beats Kalvin Kattar on January 16th. Alex has beaten Max twice but Max was robbed in that second fight earlier this year. I’m guessing we’re going to get Brian Ortega vs Volk next and as things stand, I think Volk wins that fight. I don’t expect Alex to fight more than once next year, so I’m going to play it safe and predict him to be Featherweight champion at the end of next year.
Lightweight Division – Justin Gaethje
This one was tough. There are six men who I think could be champion at the end of the year. Khabib, if he comes out of retirement, which I personally think he won’t, Gaethje, Poirier, Oliveira, Chandler and McGregor. Out of these five it could literally be any of them. Conor could beat Dustin at UFC 257 again, I’d suspect Gaethje will fight Chandler soon and Oliveira will be waiting in the wings somewhere to fight any of these guys. I went with Justin because if matchups favour him and he listens to his coach, I think he’s the most dangerous out of all of these guys. However, as I said before, it could be any of these guys at the end of next year. The Lightweight division is just too stacked and I love it!
Welterweight Division – Kamaru Usman
I think Kamaru Usman has the potential to be the best welterweight of all time. I’d currently rank him 2nd or 3rd, definitely behind GSP, however, I’m not sure if I’d rank him over Matt Hughes yet. I think when he eventually faces Gilbert Burns, he’ll beat him. They’re pretty similar in terms of the way they fight but I believe Usman is better at controlling his opponent on the ground than Burns. I also think towards the end of the year, we could get Usman vs Covington 2. A fight that I think Usman will win as well. I believe after next year, we’ll start seeing the Usman vs GSP debate for who’s the best Welterweight of all time brew up.
Middleweight – Israel Adesanya
I don’t think this one needs that much explanation. He’s simply levels above everyone else in the division right now. He’s going to fight Jan Blachowicz for Light Heavyweight title in order to become a double champion and whoever they put him up against next for the Middleweight championship, I’m guessing Whittaker again, Vettori again or Till for the first time, won’t be good enough to beat him.