Day in and day out, we are constantly trying to figure out who and what is next for each and every UFC Champion. For some, we know the answers or at the very least have an inclination as to who they will defend their strap against next. For others, the game of guessing and forecasting is about as clear as mud.
Starting things off with the women’s division’s, we know one of the four champions has a fight booked. The other three: it’s up in the air. Cyborg Santos is set to defend her featherweight strap vs. Holly Holm in a few weeks.
But for strawweight champion Rose Namajunas, no word yet if it will be a rematch with former queen pin Joanna Jędrzejczyk or perhaps Tecia Torres. For newly minted flyweight champ Nicco Montano, will be Joanna? Valentina Shevchenko? Who knows.
As for bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes, it was expected to be Raquel Pennington, but the latter suffered a horrific leg injury which has her potentially sidelined until late first quarter of 2018.
Moving on to the men’s side, we have flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson. The leading candidates are either Henry Cejudo or bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw. All signs are pointing to the Dillashaw super fight, as that is the money fight for the ‘Mighty Mouse’ and the promotion but the lingering question is whether it will be for a title, or at a catchweight.
At featherweight, champ Max Holloway looked absolutely immaculate in his first title defense vs. Jose Aldo Jr. last Saturday and if the MMA Gods agree, his next title defense will be vs. Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar. But like each and every ideal situation, we just never truly know it’s going to happen until a champion and challenger actually step into the octagon.
At lightweight there’s Conor McGregor, the biggest enigma in the company. He is the top pay per view draw and while interim champ Tony Ferguson should get that title shot, things can change if Khabib Nurmagomedov easily dismantles Edson Barboza on Dec. 30th. Add to the fact we simply do not know when and if ‘The Notorious’ will return to the octagon and we have ourselves a scenario that we can solely follow, speculate on and quite frankly, sit back and watch from the outside.
Then there’s the continuing saga of UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who was reportedly scheduled to face Nate Diaz next, but that has apparently fallen through. He wants to fight Georges St-Pierre next, but the reality is that should Rafael Dos Anjos defeat Robbie Lawler on December 16th, that will likely be his next title defense.
In closing, and almost in relieving fashion, we know that light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is set to defend his strap vs. Volkan Oezdemir, January 20th at UFC 220, while strangely enough, it was also announced that heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic will defend his gold vs. Francis Ngannou on the same card. #SayWhat
With twelve UFC champions and only a handful of them with bouts on the horizon, it’s going to be an interesting ride to close out the year and hopefully, we will have answers with all, if not most of them in the very near future. Either way, championship fights are often what drives viewer intrigue, so here’s hoping the UFC can iron out all these pending issues with the rulers of their weight classes.