As 2020 kicks off, many fighters will got down to accomplish their New 12 months’s resolutions of profitable UFC gold. That dream will come true for some, however not for others.

Here is a take a look at who I feel will attain – or keep at – the highest of the UFC by 12 months’s finish.

Flyweight

Champion at finish of 2020: Joseph Benavidez

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Henry Cejudo relinquished the 125-pound belt in December to deal with the bantamweight division, of which he is additionally the champ. A vacant flyweight title battle between longtime contender Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo is scheduled for February. For my cash, Benavidez takes that bout and at last accomplishes what he got down to do years in the past.

Bantamweight

Champion at finish of 2020: Petr Yan

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I do not assume specializing in the bantamweight division will work out for Cejudo. In six straight UFC wins, Petr Yan has proven he is destined for greatness. He is risen shortly within the promotion, and I do not assume that stops in 2020.

The bantamweight title image is a bit foggy, so it isn’t a provided that Yan will get his shot; there are many contenders with their eyes on Cejudo. However even when it takes another win, I see Yan getting paired up with Cejudo someday this 12 months. “The Messenger” is a troublesome check for anybody, however I feel it is one “No Mercy” can move.

Featherweight

Champion at finish of 2020: Alexander Volkanovski

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Nicely, what are you able to say about Alexander Volkanovski’s title win towards Max Holloway in December? Volkanovski’s effectiveness shutting Holloway down on the toes was ridiculously spectacular. It’s going to take the efficiency of a lifetime to dethrone such a sensible fighter. He is received 18 in a row for good motive.

Issues might change if Volkanovski occurs to maneuver as much as light-weight, however he vowed after beating Holloway to be an ideal champion. To me, which means staying in his division and truly defending the belt. I do not see Volkanovski shedding to anybody at featherweight for some time.

Light-weight

Champion at finish of 2020: Khabib Nurmagomedov

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If Tony Ferguson cannot beat Khabib Nurmagomedov after they lastly sq. off in April, nobody can. Nurmagomedov is essentially the most dominant fighter we have seen in years. By no means thoughts the very fact he is by no means misplaced; he is hardly ever been in a nasty place in a battle. It took “The Eagle” some time to get to the belt, principally as a result of Conor McGregor held on to it for therefore lengthy whereas sitting on the sidelines, however he hasn’t regarded again since capturing it in 2018.

An early retirement, which he is talked about earlier than, is the one means Nurmagomedov does not finish 2020 as UFC light-weight king.

Welterweight

Champion at finish of 2020: Kamaru Usman

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If anybody might beat Kamaru Usman anytime quickly, I believed it would be Colby Covington. That did not occur. Jorge Masvidal and Leon Edwards pose threats to anybody, however Usman simply appears to be on a unique degree. His wrestling has at all times been top-notch, however his hanging has actually come alongside prior to now couple of years. “The Nigerian Nightmare” is the brand new breed of welterweight champion, and I feel he is right here to remain – at the least by this 12 months.

Middleweight

Champion at finish of 2020: Israel Adesanya

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Israel Adesanya’s second-round knockout of Robert Whittaker in October was some of the spectacular performances I’ve witnessed in a very long time. And I am not simply saying that. It was close to excellent.

I have been improper earlier than – just like the time I mentioned Whittaker could be the champ for a very long time – however I am fairly assured nobody is touching “The Final Stylebender” for the foreseeable future.

Gentle heavyweight

Champion at finish of 2020: Jon Jones

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Jon Jones regarded beatable for the primary time in years when he met Thiago Santos final summer season, so there may be motive to consider that possibly, simply possibly, his reign might be coming to an finish.

However nah.

Jon Jones continues to be Jon Jones, and he is nonetheless the most effective fighter on the planet. Whether or not he is ending his opponents or simply squeaking out a choice, wins are wins and that is actually all that issues right here. Jones faces Dominick Reyes in February. Assuming he will get previous Reyes, I truly assume that’ll be Jones’ solely 205-pound title protection of the 12 months. Extra on that shortly.

Heavyweight

Champion at finish of 2020: Jon Jones

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Sure, that is proper, 2020 would be the 12 months Jones lastly reigns supreme as a two-division champion.

Jones has talked a couple of potential transfer as much as heavyweight for a very long time, nevertheless it’s by no means come to fruition. Jones mentioned in December there is a “very robust risk” he lastly makes the bounce in 2020 and, for some motive, I consider him.

With Jones’ rival Daniel Cormier nearing retirement and making ready for a trilogy battle with present heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic, a bout between “Bones” and the winner of that battle makes numerous sense. I by no means appear to provide Miocic sufficient respect on this regard, and he might very effectively show me improper once more this 12 months, however I might in the end favor Jones towards each Cormier and Miocic. So long as he does not get into hassle exterior the cage, I feel 2020 is shaping as much as be Jones’ 12 months.

Strawweight

Champion at finish of 2020: Zhang Weili

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I am not assured about this one, as a result of I have never seen sufficient of reigning champ Zhang Weili to say with certainty that she will get previous the likes of Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas. Her fast win over Jessica Andrade was extraordinarily spectacular, however battling the aforementioned ex-champs for 25 minutes is a complete different ball recreation.

Nonetheless, I will exit on a limb and say Zhang can do it. She proved me improper towards Andrade, so why cannot she once more? I preserve my reservations about how good she actually is, however I’ve a sense she would possibly keep on the prime for a while.

Ladies’s flyweight

Champion at finish of 2020: Valentina Shevchenko

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Nobody is thrashing Valentina Shevchenko at 125 kilos. Finish of story.

If Nurmagomedov and Usman are on a unique degree, Shevchenko is three ranges above everybody else in her division. That is no disrespect to her challengers. It is only a reality.

Ladies’s bantamweight

Champion at finish of 2020: Valentina Shevchenko

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Shevchenko has fought present bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes twice, shedding each efforts on the scorecards. The final time they fought, many truly scored the battle for “Bullet.”

Shevchenko does not appear overly concerned with difficult Nunes once more simply but, however she’s at all times mentioned a trilogy will most likely occur ultimately. Assuming Shevchenko will get previous Katlyn Chookagian in February and possibly another opponent at flyweight, I feel UFC brass will persuade her to return to bantamweight, establishing a late-2020 showdown towards Nunes.

Nunes regarded beatable in her final title protection versus Germaine de Randamie, and that is one thing we’ve not seen from the Brazilian champ in a while. Her hanging regarded suspect and he or she received drained. Irene Aldana is perhaps the one fighter at 135 kilos who can beat Nunes on the toes, and there is definitely nobody who can do it on the bottom. However Shevchenko? That’ll at all times be a aggressive battle, and he or she absolutely has the abilities to beat Nunes. Third time would possibly simply be the appeal.

Ladies’s featherweight

Champion at finish of 2020: Amanda Nunes

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Nunes will not finish the 12 months with no belt, although, as a result of she’s the champ at 145 kilos, too. The division barely exists, and among the many few fighters who do actively take part in it, nobody is sort of pretty much as good as “The Lioness.”

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