Who will be the next UFC champion in each division?

Three years ago, I decided to do an article predicting the next champion in each division. Some were spot on, some were really, really wrong. After UFC 217’s three title changes it seems like a good time to reset and look at who could be the next king or queen in each UFC division. So let’s do it!

Women’s Strawweight.

Current Champion – Rose Namajunas.

After beating Joanna Jedrzejczyk last week, Rose Namajunas announced herself as the next possible star in the company. A rematch with Jedrzejczyk is possible next but the likes of Jessica Andrade, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Claudia Gadelha are also there or thereabouts. Of those, I think Kowalkiewicz is the worst match-up for Namajunas and after beating her once already she’s my pick for next champion.

Men’s Flyweight.

Current Champion – Demetrious Johnson.

At 125 lbs, Demetrious Johnson has been pretty much unbeatable for his reign with nobody at the weight even looking like defeating him. For that reason, I’m picking TJ Dillashaw as the next champion after he called out Mighty Mouse last Saturday.

Women’s Flyweight.

Current Champion – N/A.

With the current Ultimate Fighter season currently progressing it’s tough to call who’ll come through that but the logic seems to dictate that Barb Honchak will take the strap.

Women’s Bantamweight.

Current Champion – Amanda Nunes.

After Raquel Pennington’s recent injury, the next challenger or two for Nunes is very much up in the air. My choice here is going to be Holly Holm because of her ability to work safely for five rounds, although that may not happen for a while yet.

Men’s Bantamweight.

Current Champion – TJ Dillashaw.

With Jimmie Rivera vs. Dominick Cruz happening soon, the winner of that will likely be the next challenger. But I don’t think either of them will beat Dillashaw, despite Cruz already having a win over the champ. That leaves Cody Garbrandt who I think would have a great chance in a rematch with the two-time champ.

Men’s Featherweight.

Current Champion – Max Holloway.

With Frankie Edgar currently awaiting Max Holloway, I don’t see him being dispossessed of his title for another while yet. There are many young prospects rising through the division and I think it’ll be one of those who takes out Holloway a few years down the line. I’ve always rated Mirsad Bektic and I think he’ll bounce back from recent setbacks to get the title.

Women’s Featherweight.

Current Champion – Cris “Cyborg” Justino.

Would saying nobody be an OK answer here? And it’s not that I don’t think Cyborg can’t be beaten (although, wait, yeah, no, I don’t think she can be beaten) it’s that I think when she decides to retire or sign for another promotion they will wind up this “division” which is basically only her anyway.

Lightweight.

Current Champion – Conor McGregor.

Trying to predict the next move of Conor McGregor is never an easy thing to do. With Tony Ferguson holding the interim strap currently, he also has to be in the discussion here but I do think the Irishman wins if they fight. I’m not sure anyone is out-striking McGregor or if he’ll even be around long enough for us to find out. Either way, I think it’ll be a while before he loses or vacates. In short, I think Beneil Dariush is the best guy in the rankings who still has improvements left in him to be in line a few years down the line.

Welterweight.

Current Champion – Tyron Woodley.

Over the last year or so, Tyron Woodley has proven to be as awkward a proposition as champion as anyone in the UFC. His blend of hard hitting, strong wrestling and ultra defensiveness makes him very hard to take out. To beat him, I think you have to be equally well rounded, smart and physically gifted. I’m not sure many in the top-15 fulfill those requirements but the fastly improving Kamaru Usman certainly could very soon.

Middleweight.

Current Champion – Georges St-Pierre.

This one is easy. If they fight, I think Robert Whittaker will unify the belts.

Light-heavyweight.

Current Champion – Daniel Cormier.

With Jon Jones likely out of the picture for the foreseeable future, you could definitely say DC will reign for a good while yet. I fancy him to get through Volkan Oedzimir next, but I think Alexander Gustafsson could finally get that belt if they rematch.

Heavyweight.

Current Champion – Stipe Miocic.

Francis Ngannou. That is all.

Lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Co-host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Tuesday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma