From Flyweight To Heavyweight: What’s Next For The UFC’s Champions?

UFC Champs From Flyweight To Heavyweight: What’s Next For The UFC’s Champions?

With the recent string of injuries decimating the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) roster, the title picture in several divisions has been left quite murky.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to put together an article will take a look at each division and breakdown what matches have been made, will be made, or should be made for each of the respective titles.

Here we go…

%name From Flyweight To Heavyweight: What’s Next For The UFC’s Champions?

Flyweight (125 lbs.)

Current title holder:                   Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson

Although UFC 152 determined the first ever flyweight champion and placed the division prominently on the card as the co-main event, the 125-pounders remain the least known fighters on the UFC roster. With an increasing amount of 135-pounders dropping to flyweight, the next 12 months should witness the development of a much more competitive landscape. However, the immediate title contenders are quite limited due to the division’s lack of exposure.

Although Ian McCall is likely the most qualified candidate to fight for the title, he is coming off two decision losses to the division’s new champion and a third fight would not make sense at the moment. Rather, the winner of the John Dodson-Jussier da Silva fight, which takes place at UFC on FX 5 on October 5, should provide ‘Mighty Mouse’ with his a taker for his first title defense.

The dark horse in the current title race would be Darren Uyenoyama, who is also fighting on the same night. If he can put in a more impressive performance than either Dodson or da Silva, he has the chance to get the nod as the next challenger in the UFC’s newest division.

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Dominick Cruz From Flyweight To Heavyweight: What’s Next For The UFC’s Champions?

Bantamweight (135 lbs.)

Current title holder:                        Dominick ‘The Dominator’ Cruz
Current interim title holder:        Renan ‘Barao’ Pegado

With Dominick Cruz still on the sidelines and no word yet on a return bout, the situation in the bantamweight division is not yet set in stone. Urijah Faber was set to face Cruz for the title in July before Cruz was forced to pull out.

Enter Renan Barao to spoil Faber’s chance at a UFC title. Barao used his superior striking and overall skill set to win a unanimous decision over Faber for the interim bantamweight title, thus setting up a unification bout with Cruz. It remains unclear whether Barao will need to take another fight pending Cruz’ return or if the champion will be ready to defend his title in early 2013. In the meantime, the bantamweight elites will need to do battle in order to create a new challenger after Barao and Cruz finally face each other.

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Jose Aldo From Flyweight To Heavyweight: What’s Next For The UFC’s Champions?

Featherweight (145 lbs.)

Current title holder:                   Jose ‘Scarface’ Aldo

Ever since the UFC swallowed up the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and integrated the latter’s elite fighters into their roster, Jose Aldo has undoubtedly been the most marketable and dominant fighter to make the transition. ‘Scarface’ was scheduled to make a title defense on October 13 in Brazil at UFC 153 against Eric Koch.

As has been almost expected as of late, Koch was injured in training and the event was in jeopardy of losing its headliner. Nonetheless, former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar stepped up to the plate and agreed to a super fight with Aldo that had fans and commentators salivating. Alas, it was not meant to be as Jose Aldo was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle and was forced to pull out due to injury.

The divisional title picture is now hazy since we have yet to receive word on a possible return for Aldo. Complicating matters is the fact that Frankie Edgar is unproven in the weight class. Therefore, it begs the question: who should get the title shot upon ‘Scarface’s’ return? Koch, who paid his dues in the featherweight division, or Edgar, a former champion who will make the fight much more marketable to the casual fan?

Either way, I would imagine that the UFC matchmakers will settle on one of the two as Aldo’s next opponent sometime in the early part of 2013.


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Ben henderson From Flyweight To Heavyweight: What’s Next For The UFC’s Champions?

Lightweight (155 lbs.)

Current title holder:                   Benson ‘Smooth’Henderson

Ben Henderson’s ascent to the lightweight throne in the UFC was quite a thrill to watch. The charismatic lightweight took on Frankie Edgar in Japan at UFC 144 and won the title by unanimous decision. While some argued that the decision was clear cut, others, including Frankie Edgar, were convinced that the now former champ got robbed.

Henderson would put all speculation to rest at UFC 150 in August as he won another decision over Edgar, which set up a title defense against the brash lightweight contender from Stockton, California Nate Diaz. The fight is scheduled to air free on FOX on December 8 at UFC on FOX 5.

Following their primetime showdown, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone will likely be the next in line for a shot at Henderson or Diaz if he can hammer out another strong win. ‘Cowboy’ has some history with both men and a title bout would create an interesting storyline to follow leading up to their prospective match.

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GSP From Flyweight To Heavyweight: What’s Next For The UFC’s Champions?

Welterweight (170 lbs.)

Current title holder:                    Georges ‘Rush’ St-Pierre
Interim title holder:                    Carlos ‘The Natural Born Killer’ Condit

Georges St-Pierre has dominated the welterweight division for years and is considered one of the top, if not the top, pound for pound fighters in mixed martial arts. However, his upcoming title defense will come on the heels of an expedited recovery from knee surgery against interim title holder Carlos Condit at UFC 154 in Montreal.

Many are concerned that St-Pierre may loose his explosiveness due to the knee injury and it may render him a shell of his old self. In any case, expectations are high and some, including UFC president Dana White, are discussing a possible super fight with middleweight champion Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva. ‘Rush’ will need to get past Condit first though, which will be no easy task.

Once Condit and St-Pierre unify the welterweight titles, there is a list of worthy opponents that have climbed up the contender’s list while Condit has waited around for St-Pierre to recover. Most notably, Martin Kampmann and Johnny Hendricks, who face each other at UFC 154 in the co-main event, will determine who is next in line for the welterweight championship.

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 anderson silva vs belfort From Flyweight To Heavyweight: What’s Next For The UFC’s Champions?

Middleweight (185 lbs.)

Current title holder:                  Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva

Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva is possibly the best prizefighter of the last 20 years. He is undefeated in the UFC, holds a slue of records, and has defeated former champions from different weight classes. Silva recently defeated his most challenging and vocal adversary, Chael Sonnen, for the second time and single-handedly cleaned out the division in the process. The champion seems to have lost interest in the competition at middleweight and is now looking to make a super fight with Georges St-Pierre if the welterweight champion can make a successful return against Carlos Condit at UFC 154 in November.

Here is where the story gets a little odd. Anderson Silva has decided to save UFC 153 in Brazil on October 13 by taking a short notice headliner fight at light heavyweight against the semi-retired and underachieving Stephan Bonnar. The situation has disaster written all over it. If Anderson wins, all is fine. If he looses though, it could put his legacy into question and place a future big money fight with either St-Pierre or Jon Jones in jeopardy of never being made. If Silva is able to avoid a disastrous mistake and beat Bonnar, as most expect he will, then he will either need to return to middleweight and defend his crown or seek out the super fights he is entitled to.

So who is next in line at middleweight? Micheal ‘The Count’ Bisping has been knocking at the door for a long time and his win over Brian Stann at UFC 152 may have finally been the ticket that lets him into the octagon with Silva. Another possibility is Chris Weidman who has been vocal about a title shot after putting in a memorable performance against Mark Munoz.

Before we can determine who will square off with ‘The Spider,’ Silva will need to escape unscathed and uninjured from his bout with Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153 on October 13.


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Jon Jones Spinning Elbow From Flyweight To Heavyweight: What’s Next For The UFC’s Champions?

Light Heavyweight (205 lbs.)

Current title holder:                   Jon ‘Bones’ Jones

Coming into UFC 152 Jon Jones was public enemy number one. Many were quick to criticize the light heavyweight champ for not taking a fight with Chael Sonnen at the last minute to salvage UFC 151. Nonetheless, his epic title defense against Vitor Belfort this weekend showed that the young champion not only has skill, size, and athleticism. He also proved that he has the heart of a champion. Where most men would have tapped out to the grizzly looking arm bar submission attempt by Belfort in the first round, Jones powered through and finished the fight in the fourth.

With reports indicating that Jones will be out indefinitely with possible nerve damage in his bicep, it leaves the light heavyweight division in a position to sort itself out and determine a true number one contender upon Jones’ return. Historically, this division has always been one of deepest and it is still true today. Dan Henderson, Lyoto Machida, Mauricio ’Shogun’ Rua, Alexander Gustafson, and Glover Texeira are all names that have been thrown around as the next challenger. The next four to six months should help to provide some clarity as many of the fighters mentioned above will be facing off against one another.

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junior dos santos From Flyweight To Heavyweight: What’s Next For The UFC’s Champions?

Heavyweight (265 lbs.)

Current title holder:                   Junior ‘Cigano’ Dos Santos

The heavyweight division has always been the most captivating to avid and casual fans alike. Enormous men throwing around malicious bombs will always be a hard attraction to best in combat sports. However, in recent years we have seen a shift in the UFC’s heavyweight division. The monsters of the division like Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin, and Tim Sylvia have been replaced by smaller, quicker, and more technically sound heavyweights like Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez.

Dos Santos will be facing Velasquez once again on December 29 at UFC 155 to determine whether the current champs’ blitz first round knockout over his Mexican-American foe earlier this year was nothing more than a lucky punch.

After the rematch between Dos Santos and Velasquez, many believe that Alistair ‘The Demolition Man’ Overeem will be in line for a title shot after his decimation of Brock Lesnar in his last outing. If Overeem does not get the nod, another slim possibility would be Daniel Cormier, the winner of Strikeforce’s heavyweight Grand Prix tournament.

Cormier was slated to fight Frank Mir in November but is now left without an opponent since Mir has sustained an injury. If the UFC can line up another top ranked heavyweight to fight Cormier in November, the winner could be in line for a title shot if the marketing is executed effectively.

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