Which UFC Champ has the biggest chance to lose their belt in 2013?
Now that calmer heads have prevailed and the allegations of throwing fights and tanking have moved on to Internet forum oblivion, we can all be at rest with the fact that Anderson Silva is no longer the UFC Middleweight Champion. Chris Weidman went out there and knocked the snot out of the showboating Silva and rightfully earned the strap (and a New Year’s Eve rematch!). Moving on to the rest of 2013, the latter half of the year is absolutely loaded with high quality UFC cards. If you had trouble wading through the TUF Finales and Brazilian flavored cards of the last few months, I hope you saved up some of your allowance to shell out some dough for the Pay Per Views headed our way. Leading up the Silva/Weidman rematch on December 28th, every UFC belt is on the line at least once, and my question is, which Champion has the biggest chance of losing their title in the Octagon in 2013. Keep reading and I’ll tell you!
UFC on FOX: Johnson v. Moraga
Flyweight Title Fight: Champion Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson v. John Moraga
Chance Johnson loses the belt: 33%
Moraga provides an interesting test for Mighty Mouse, but I don’t see him having the ability to utilize his wrestling to slow down the Champ. DJ is evasive and quicker than almost anyone else on the UFC roster, he will be able to pick his spots and earn another decision victory. Hopefully another matchup with John Dodson is on the Horizon.
UFC 163: Aldo v. Korean Zombie
Featherweight Title Fight: Champion Jose Aldo v. Chan Sung Jung AKA The Korean Zombie
Chances Aldo loses the belt: 20%
If you ask me, Jose Aldo may just be the best pound for pound fighter on planet Earth. TKZ is a highly entertaining pugilist that can take a beating and dish it right back out, but he has been out of the cage since LAST May when he defeated Dustin Poirer in a Fight of the Year quality showdown. I don’t see TKZ having a great chance against the bigger, faster Aldo when he hasn’t had any legitimate cage time in 14 months. On a positive note, there is a lengthy list of contenders developing at 145 that should prove to keep the division interesting for quite some time.
UFC 164: Henderson v. Pettis
Lightweight Title Fight: Champion Benson Henderson v. Anthony Pettis
Chances Henderson loses the belt: 67%
Well, isn’t it just perfect how that worked out… The mild mannered TJ Grant gets a concussion during BJJ training and the ‘injured’ Anthony Pettis gets thrown right in to a title shot in his hometown. Conspiracy theories aside, I am absolutely geeked up about this scrap. I am a firm believer that Lightweight is the most exciting and talent rich division in the sport and would be a BIG proponent of Benson Henderson losing the belt. Not to say that Henderson isn’t a supreme talent and seemingly all around nice guy, but when you watch fights like Lauzon/Miller, or Diaz/Thomson, you wish that the division could be showcased by its Champion a little bit better. (Oh, BJ Penn, how we miss you…)
If this thing goes to a decision, do you see Showtime losing on the judge’s scorecards at home in Milwaukee? Don’t think so. I believe Pettis is hungry enough to push Henderson and throw him off his leg kick, circle, jab game. If I had to call it early, I see a late finish from Pettis, but that could just be wishful thinking. That said, still a great shot for the belt to change hands at UFC 164.
UFC 165: Jones v. Gustafsson
Interim Bantamweight Championship: Interim Champ Renan Barao v. Eddie Wineland
Chance Barao loses the belt: 25%
Where the heck is Dominick Cruz? This Interim deal is becoming more and more permanent by the hour. I am an Eddie Wineland fan, but I don’t seem him giving the ‘Monster’ Renan Barao much of a challenge in the Co-Main Event of UFC 165. Wineland has struggled before against elite fighters (Faber, Benevidez) and he lost his last fight against Brad Pickett on my personal scorecard. Barao seems to have 135 on lock for the time being and I see it staying that way for some time, even if Cruz comes back.
Light Heavyweight Championship: Champion Jon Jones v. Alexander Gustafsson
Chance Jones loses the belt: 33%
Now that the Titan Anderson Silva has fallen, many fans are wondering if Jon Jones could suffer a similar fate some day. Gustafsson certainly provides the toughest test Jones has seen since either the Evans fight, and the Swede is large enough to negate some of Jones’ ballyhooed size advantage. Still, Jon Jones is likely the most talented fighter on the planet, I don’t necessarily see him losing until he eventually moves up to Heavyweight. Gustafsson will provide Jones with an actual challenge, which will be entertaining to watch, but I don’t see the Mauler having enough experience to usurp the 205 pound king.
UFC 166: Velasquez v. Dos Santos III
Heavyweight Championship Fight: Champ Cain Velasquez v. Junior Dos Santos
Chance Velasquez loses the belt: 51%
I can hear the Joe Rogan promos now: “The BIGGEST Trilogy fight in the history of the UFC!” This fight will be absolutely massive and the pro-Cain crowd should be electric in Houston. Both fighters looked remarkable at UFC 160 and this matchup truly will be a clash of giants. I believe JDS when he says he was “overtrained” for his second fight with Cain, and I believe we will see a crisper, more confident Cigano in the trilogy fight.
Bigfoot was merely a stepping stone for Cain on his road to another fight with Dos Santos, and we certainly didn’t learn much from his demolition of the massive Brazilian. It is tough to call this one now, but if I had to make a pick, I slightly favor JDS coming out of the cage with the belt. He has knocked out Cain once, and I think he could easily do it again. Both of these guys know what it takes to be a Champion and this trilogy fight may not be their last time tangling together in the cage.
UFC 167: GSP v. Hendricks
Welterweight Championship Fight: Champion Georges St. Pierre v. Jonny Hendricks
Chance St. Pierre loses the belt: 70%
Woah! Did he really just do that?!!? Yup, I believe that ‘Bigg Rigg’ Hendricks has a hell of a shot to dethrone GSP as the Welterweight king. Jonny’s wrestling is just as strong as GSP’s and he has a left hand that ends dreams and sparks nightmares. GSP may just be settling back in to his groove after a long lay-off with two more title defenses under his belt, but he hasn’t looked all that comfortable in the cage to me in those two bouts. He dominated an undermatched Diaz, but he was inches away from losing his gold after a headkick from Condit landed flush. Hendricks truly provides the toughest test to GSP’s belt to date and I believe he possesses every necessary quality to be the UFC 170 Champion.
UFC 168: Silva v. Weidman II
Women’s Bantamweight Championship Fight: Champion Ronda Rousey v. Miesha Tate
Chance Rousey loses the belt: 1%
You never know what is going to happen in a fight, but Rousey is just on another level than her competition and has already proven that she is a better fighter than Miesha Tate. This fight is another Sonnen-esque title scrap where the opponent is merely in the picture for promotion purposes. Ronda is becoming more dominant by the day, and with Miesha coming off a loss, this tilt gives Ronda little room to improve. Another first round armbar for the Queen of MMA…
Middleweight Championship Fight: Champion Chris Weidman v. Anderson Silva
Chance Weidman loses the belt: 75%
The REMATCH! I am going to keep this brief because I feel like there will be a couple 2000 words essays that I crank out before this fight, but Anderson Silva proclaimed that ‘He back’ and I fully expect him to take the belt from Weidman in December. I am a huge Weidman fan, but we all know that Anderson effed around and got caught two weeks ago. Sure, we can talk about respecting your opponent, but that rope-a-dope act is how Silva mentally defeats his opponents. A determined, motivated, hungry Anderson SIlva is a scary, scary thing, no matter how old he is.