Thankfully for the world, 2020 is officially behind us. While it was a pretty terrible year across the board, the UFC accomplished some major things last year. The biggest MMA promotion in the world was the first major sport to return after the pandemic hit.
Dana White and the crew at the UFC deserve a lot of credit for what they pulled off. In addition, the promotion also delivered card after card of incredible fights. We saw new champions crowned and fights that made us stand up and applaud from home.
2021 is promising to be a very exciting year for the UFC. The promotion already is kicking off the year in Fight Island with some incredible fights. Most notably the rematch between Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC).
Now, I’m not saying these are official picks or guaranteeing this will happen. However, my gut is telling me that these two predictions will come to fruition and when they do, some UFC fans are going to be shocked.
2021 UFC bold predictions
Stipe Miocic doesn’t last one round with Francis Ngannou
For my first bold prediction, I’m looking at the UFC’s heavyweight division. The current plan is for Stipe Miocic (20-3) to defend his title against Francis Ngannou (15-3) in March. However, the fight is not finalized at this time.
This fight is a rematch from UFC 220. The narrative going into this fight is going to be a lot like the first one. Whenever they first were paired together, many believed that Ngannou’s power would be too much for Stipe Miocic.
However, Stipe completely dominated Ngannou and won a shutout decision. Since then, Miocic has only fought in a trilogy with Daniel Cormier where he’s gone 2-1. Ngannou lost his next fight to Derrick Lewis, but after that, he’s looked inhuman.
The Predator has knocked out four straight opponents with none of them getting past 71 seconds. He’s training like a mad man and he is desperate to become the UFC’s heavyweight champion of the world.
Ngannou went into the first fight completely overconfident. He didn’t think Miocic could handle him, and he was wrong. His training is different now and I think he’s going to be better than ever when they fight.
On the other hand, I personally don’t believe Stipe is as good as he was when they fought the first time. I think when they rematch in March, Stipe is going to fall in the first round and Francis Ngannou will be the new UFC heavyweight champion.
Gilbert Burns dethrones Kamaru Usman
For my second and final bold prediction, I’m taking a look at the UFC’s welterweight title. Champion, Kamaru Usman (17-1), is tentatively booked to defend his title against Gilbert Burns (19-3) in February at UFC 258.
To this point, nobody has been able to solve Kamaru Usman. Colby Covington pushed him to the absolute limit, but Usman was ultimately able to finish Covington in that fight. It’s extremely difficult to deal with the style of Usman.
He’s incredibly strong, he’s got tremendous power, and he has phenomenal wrestling which he uses to control his opponents. Whether on the ground or against the fence, Usman’s control is something that fighters struggle to deal with.
However, if there’s anyone in the UFC who has the style to beat Usman it’s his former teammate, Gilbert Burns. As Burns was on the rise, it was his BJJ skills that everyone was incredibly impressed with. Burns is one of the best Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the sport.
However, it’s his striking that’s blown me away this year. Burns is incredibly fast and extremely powerful with his hands. He knocked out Demian Maia on the feet and dropped Tyron Woodley when they fought earlier this year.
On the feet, I believe that Burns is going to have a big advantage at UFC 258. He’s got the speed to give Usman fits. His skills as a grappler are also going to cause problems for Usman in my opinion.
Now, would I be shocked if Usman is able to use his strengths to grind out a decision? No, I mean he’s the UFC champion for a reason. However, I truly believe that Gilbert Burns is a nightmare matchup for him. For that reason, we will see a new welterweight champion next month.