Four UFC champions who will lose their title in 2022

2021 proved to be a wild year in the UFC. There was a ton of turnover in terms of champions. During this calendar year, we have seen a total of seven new champions. Only five champions retained their titles in their respective weight classes. One of those champions, Amanda Nunes (21-5), did lose one of her titles this year.

I was a bit surprised by the massive championship turnover in 2021. That said, there were a couple that I did see coming. To me, the most obvious one was Francis Ngannou (16-3) winning the heavyweight title by defeating Stipe Miocic (20-4). Yes, Stipe is an all time great, but I just figured it was Francis’ time.

However, there were also some massive surprises this year. A couple that immediately stand out is Brandon Moreno (19-5-2) defeating Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1). The biggest shock of the year came back at UFC 269 when Julianna Pena (11-4) shocked the world by submitting Amanda Nunes.

Now, it’s time to look forward to next year. There are 12 total divisions in the promotion and there are no two-division champions. With that in mind, which champions are most likely going to lose their status this upcoming year.

UFC champions who will lose in 2022

Aljamain Sterling

The first and most obvious choice for a UFC champion to lose is Aljamain Sterling (20-3). I mean that in no disrespect, but he’s the lone champion on the roster who really didn’t earn his championship. Sterling won the title at UFC 259 by disqualification after Petr Yan (16-2) hit him with an illegal knee.

It’s important to remember that Sterling was getting smashed by Yan when the foul took place. Not even Aljamain Sterling believes he was on his way to winning that fight. Sterling and Yan will run it back in the first part of 2022 and Sterling is a big underdog.

I don’t see any scenario where Sterling beats Petr Yan. If he somehow does, I think TJ Dillashaw (17-4) is also likely to defeat Sterling if they were to fight for the title in 2022.

Julianna Pena

The next UFC champion to lose will be Julianna Pena. I give Pena all the credit in the world for what she did at UFC 269. She shocked the world and proved everyone wrong. What’s remarkable is she won in the exact fashion in which she said she would. She defeated the GOAT and broke her during the fight.

It’s already been acknowledged that the UFC will run things back immediately. Nunes is already a massive betting favorite despite losing to Pena in the first fight. I think we are going to see the Amanda Nunes that we all thought we were going to see in the first fight when these two run it back.

It’s a great story and nobody can take that win away from Pena, but I can’t pick her to defeat Nunes in the rematch.

Glover Teixeira

Another incredible story in the UFC during 2021 was Glover Teixeira (33-7). Glover became the oldest man to ever win a UFC title for the first time when he defeated Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267. If you would’ve told me that Glover Teixeira would be a UFC champion in 2022, I would have said you were crazy.

However, I think his Cinderella run is coming to an end early in 2022. I firmly believe that the best light heavyweight in the world at the moment in Jiri Prochazka (28-3-1). Prochazka will get the first crack at Glover next year and I think he’s going to take away the title by finishing him.

Francis Ngannou

One of my favorite fighters to watch in the UFC is Francis Ngannou. He has this Mike Tyson-like vibe to him that we’ve really never seen before. He keeps you on the edge of your seat and when he puts people away, it’s usually a very scary scene.

Ngannou finally climbed to the top of the mountain in 2021 and became UFC heavyweight champion. However, he’s going to have a massive mountain to climb to keep his title in 2022. Ngannou will have to beat the two toughest matchups for him in the heavyweight division.

Next month at UFC 270, Ngannou will be taking on Ciryl Gane (10-0). Gane is unlike any heavyweight we’ve ever seen in the UFC. He’s a massive man who moves with the fluidity of a middleweight. His technique and precision will be very difficult for Ngannou to deal with.

However, Ngannou has the power to put anyone away and if he connects on Gane, he can put him out. Let’s say that Ngannou makes it past Gane. Well, then he’s going to have to face the greatest to ever do it in Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Like Gane, Jones will pose a big stylistic problem for Ngannou given his skillset.

In a technical battle, Ngannou doesn’t beat Gane or Jones. That said, he can put both men out if he connects. While no one should count him out, it’s hard to imagine him beating both of them next year.

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