Who will be UFC champion after 2022? (Welterweight – Heavyweight)

UFC, Jon Jones

2021 is coming to a close and it’s time to look at some UFC predictions for 2022. One of the fun things to do entering a new year is predicting who will be holding UFC gold once the calendar turns over to 2023.

In this article, we will be taking a look at the big boys and seeing who will be wearing gold at the end of next year. Last year, these predictions didn’t do very great as the only one I got right was the middleweight division.

I thought Jon Jones would return to become UFC heavyweight champion and I figured Israel Adesanya would defeat Jan Blachowicz. I also figured that Gilbert Burns would defeat Kamaru Usman when they fought.

Obviously, none of those predictions came true. Hopefully, my 2022 predictions for UFC champions will be a lot better.

UFC champions after 2022

Welterweight – Kamaru Usman

Starting off is the UFC’s welterweight division. Kamaru Usman (20-1) is still the king at 170 pounds after a sensational year that saw him defend his title three times. In fact, he was my fighter of the year in 2021 with those three defenses.

As we enter 2022, it’s hard to see anyone taking the title from The Nigerian Nightmare. The most intriguing contender is prospect Khamzat Chimaev (10-0). Chimaev has the skillset and the talent to potentially dethrone the champion, but we need to see him compete against more top competition first.

Leon Edwards (19-3, 1 NC) is likely getting the next crack at Usman. Edwards didn’t win the first time they fought and it’s hard to see him beating him the second time. I think Kamaru Usman leaves 2022 with the UFC welterweight title still wrapped around his waist.

Middleweight – Israel Adesanya

Next up is the UFC’s middleweight division where Israel Adesanya (21-1). This past year saw Adesanya defend his middleweight title once and that came against Marvin Vettori back in June.

Adesanya completely dominated the fight to retain his title. Next up for The Last Stylebender is a rematch with former champion Robert Whittaker (23-5). Whittaker is by far the biggest challenger for Adesanya in the middleweight division.

These two will fight at UFC 271. If there’s one man who can beat Adesanya at 185, it’s Whittaker. However, I still give the edge to Stylebender and I think he’ll hold on to his middleweight title. If Whittaker doesn’t beat him, no one will next year.

Light Heavyweight – Jiri Prochazka

Next up is the light heavyweight division where Glover Teixeira (33-7) is currently the champion. If you would’ve told me that entering 2022 that Glover Teixeira would be the UFC’s light heavyweight champion, I would have told you that you were on drugs.

However, Teixeira proved this past year that age is just a number and he became the light heavyweight champion. His Cinderella story has truly been remarkable, however, it might come to a screeching halt in the first part of 2022.

I believe that the best light heavyweight in the world is Jiri Prochazka (28-3-1). Prochazka has looked sensational since joining the UFC with knockout wins over Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes. He will now get a shot against Teixiera in the first part of next year.

I don’t see any scenario where Teixeira wins unless he’s able to just take Prochazka down at will. Once Prochazka gets his hands on the UFC light heavyweight title, I don’t see him letting it go.

Heavyweight – Jon Jones

Last but not least is the UFC’s heavyweight division. Last year, I figured that we would have seen the heavyweight debut of Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) and I figured he would be atop the heavyweight division. Well, I’m keeping that prediction for 2022.

The one thing I did get right about 2021 was Francis Ngannou (16-3) defeating Stipe Miocic to become champion. Ngannou will defend his title against Ciryl Gane (10-0) next month in a unification bout.

I’m still torn on that fight, but I think that the winner is going to face Jon Jones. While some might think I’m crazy, I still believe that at his best, Jon Jones is the best fighter in the UFC. He’s had so many issues outside the cage, but inside, he’s been flawless.

Whenever he comes back and gets his shot in 2022, I think he’s going to show off just how good he is. I believe that Jones will capture the UFC heavyweight title in 2022 and regain his top spot on the pound for pound rankings.

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