Who will be UFC champion after 2022? (Flyweight – Lightweight)

2021 was an incredible year for the UFC. This year, the world’s biggest MMA promotion welcomed back fans in the arenas after 2020 ended with empty arenas due to the ongoing pandemic.

Thinking back, there were so many memorable moments for the promotion. Starting the year at UFC 257 where Dustin Poirier stopped Conor McGregor in the second round. Then they rematched at UFC 264 and the fight ended with Conor McGregor snapping his leg.

There was UFC 261 that saw the first sellout for the promotion since shutting things down in 2020. Kamaru Usman knocked Jorge Masvidal out cold. Rose Namajunas knocked out Zhang Weili to become a two-time strawweight champion.

Of course, how could you not mention UFC 269 where Julianna Pena shocked the world by stopping Amanda Nunes. I could go on and on about how big of a year this was for the promotion. So many titles changed hands and so many epic fights.

Now, it’s time for the UFC to look forward to 2022. Last year, we published our predictions for who we believed would be champions once 2021 ended and it was a mixed bag of results. That said, let’s preview 2021 and predict who will be UFC champions at the end of next year.

UFC 2022 Champions

Flyweight – Deiveson Figueiredo

Currently the UFC flyweight champion is Brandon Moreno (19-5-2). Moreno defeated Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1) earlier this year for the flyweight title. These two ended 2020 with an incredible fight that saw the two men fight to a draw.

They ran things back this year and Moreno completely dominated the fight and submitted Figueiredo. They will fight for a third time at UFC 270 in January. Now, the popular pick right now is taking Brandon Moreno. In trilogies, whoever wins the second fight is much more likely to win the third.

However, I still believe that Figueiredo is the best flyweight in the world when he’s at his best. I don’t believe we saw the best Figueiredo during their second fight. I think he’s going to be motivated for this third fight and I think he takes the belt back and keeps it for the rest of 2022.

Bantamweight – Petr Yan

Currently, the UFC bantamweight champion is Aljamain Sterling (20-3). Petr Yan (16-2) is the interim champion. These two fought back in March and Yan was dominating the fight. However, Sterling won the title after Yan hit him with an illegal knee in the fourth round.

Due to neck surgery, we haven’t seen Sterling since. Yan went on to fight and defeat Cory Sandhagen for the interim title back at UFC 267. Make no mistake about it, Petr Yan is the best bantamweight in the world.

He’s going to fight Sterling in the first part of 2022 and I think he finishes him. After that, he’s likely going to have to face TJ Dillashaw (17-4) at some point and that’s going to be a very tough fight. However, I don’t see anyone at 135 defeating Yan next year.

Featherweight – Alexander Volkanovski

Arguably the one UFC champion that I feel like I’ve underestimated the most is Alexander Volkanovski (23-1). I thought the featherweight champion was the third best featherweight entering 2021 behind Max Holloway and Brian Ortega.

When the year started, I thought Ortega would become champion. However, Volkanovski showed the world that he was the best featherweight when he brutalized Ortega at UFC 267. In reality, Volkanovski is likely going to have his trilogy with Max Holloway next.

There just isn’t any other appealing contenders in the UFC’s featherweight division. When Holloway defeated Calvin Kattar to start 2021, he looked like the best in the world. However, he didn’t against Yair Rodriguez while Volkanovski did against Ortega.

I think Volkanovski will defeat Holloway for a third time in 2022 and I think he will close the year as the UFC’s featherweight champion. Who knows, Volkanovski might even try to move up to lightweight after defeating Holloway for a third time.

Lightweight – Charles Oliveira

The division with the biggest stars in the sport is the UFC’s lightweight division. The lightweight division is incredibly stacked with big names and big talents. That said, nobody in the world is better than the champion, Charles Oliveira (32-8).

Oliveira has shown the world this year just how special he is. In the last 12 months, he’s brutalized Tony Ferguson and finished both Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier. Next, he will take on Justin Gaethje (23-3). Gaethje will be another massive challenge, but I’m picking Oliveira in that one.

The one guy to watch to challenge Oliveira is Islam Makhachev (21-1). The only man in the world I think who can beat Oliveira right now is Khabib Nurmagomedov. Khabib is of course retired, but his protégé fights very similar to him.

Makhavchev is fighting Beneil Dariush in the first part of 2022. Whoever wins that fight will be in line for a UFC title shot. Assuming Oliveira gets through Gaethje, I think we are setting up for a late summer clash between Oliviera and Makhachev.

UFC What If: Khabib Nurmagomedov – Charles Oliveira

This past weekend at UFC 269, Charles Oliveira (32-8) defended his lightweight title against Dustin Poirier (28-7, 1 NC). This fight was being looked at as the fight that would legitimize Oliveira as the true champion.

Earlier this year, Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) officially vacated the lightweight title and retired. The UFC booked Oliveira against Michael Chandler for the vacant lightweight champion.

Oliveira became the UFC champion after stopping Michael Chandler in the second round. However, many looked at Dustin Poirier as the second best lightweight in the UFC only behind Khabib.

With Khabib retired, Poirier was looked at as the top guy. However, Poirier took fights with Conor McGregor over the UFC title shot initially. After Poirier defeated McGregor twice, he got his shot against Oliveira.

The fight was very competitive and saw both men have their moments. That said, UFC 269 belonged to Charles Oliveira who was able to submit Poirier in the third round of their title fight.

The result was the same for Khabib Nurmagomedov when he fought Poirier a few years ago for the lightweight title. With the win, Oliveira has established himself as the best in the UFC.

However, is he the best in the world? One has to wonder what would’ve happened if Khabib never retired. If Khabib came back to the UFC, what would a fight with him and Charles Oliveira look like?

UFC What If

Let’s play the what if game here. What if Khabib came back to the UFC to challenge Charles Oliveira for the lightweight title. The same lightweight title that Khabib never lost inside the octagon.

What would a fight between the two men look like. Well, Oliveira is by far the toughest fight in the promotion for Khabib due to his skills on the ground. Oliveira has more finishes by submissions than anyone in UFC history.

Khabib’s game is his wrestling and top control. Oliveira would constantly be a threat from the bottom. On the feet, Oliveira would have the sizable advantage in the striking with his technique alone.

What would be so fascinating is seeing who would be the one backing up. Khabib is a fighter who never took a back step and that pressure often would fatigue his opponents. However, Oliveira fights the same way and he never takes a back step.

If these two were to fight for the UFC title, I think I would lean towards Khabib. Charles Oliveira would be on his back in this fight without question. Yes, he’s incredibly dangerous from the bottom.

However, I think Khabib’s top game and pressure is so good that he could avoid the submissions. I think Khabib has the style that would ground Oliveira and neutralize him.

That said, if I watched the fight and Oliveira became the first man to defeat Khabib, I wouldn’t be shocked. That’s how good I think the new UFC lightweight champion is.

It’s a dream fight for me and sadly one I think we will never see. That said, it’s still fun to dream. Who do you think would win? Sound off below!

After falling short at UFC 269, what’s next for Dustin Poirier?

This past weekend at UFC 269, the undisputed lightweight title was on the line. Dustin Poirier (28-7, 1 NC) was looking to finally get his hands on undisputed gold when he took on Charles Oliveira (32-8).

For Dustin Poirier, the fight couldn’t have started better at UFC 269. The former interim champion dropped Oliveira and hurt him a couple of times in the first round. Things were going according to plan.

However, the second round saw the momentum completely shift. After a grappling exchange, Poirier found himself on the bottom. Fearful of the submission game of Oliveira, Poirier rode out the round on bottom while eating plenty of elbows.

In the third round, Oliveira charged forward and forced another grappling exchange. This time, the UFC champion was able to immediately get the back of Dustin Poirier.

Once there, the fight was essentially over. Oliveira started attacking a rear-naked choke and was able to lock one in. Poirier tried to fight it off but was forced to tap as Oliveira successfully defended his UFC lightweight title.

What’s next after UFC 269?

There are no other words to describe Poirier’s loss other than crushing. Poirier admitted at the post-fight press conference that he was heartbroken and devastated by the result.

Make no mistake about it, Dustin Poirier is one of the best fighters in the UFC. However, undisputed gold has been outside of his reach his entire career.

He got his first shot two years ago against Khabib Nurmagomedov and suffered the same result. Now, The Diamond must go back to the drawing board and figure out whats next.

The UFC does have a couple of options they can look at. An obvious choice from a rankings perspective is Michael Chandler (22-7). Chandler is on a two-fight losing streak but the losses came to Oliveira and Justin Gaethje.

A fight between Poirier and Chandler would re-establish one of them right in the title picture. If Poirier is looking for a big money fight, I love the idea of him and Nate Diaz (20-13).

These two have wanted to fight for years and now could be the perfect time. Diaz needs a fight and Poirier might want a money fight over a contender fight with Chandler.

That fight could setup a potential fourth matchup with Conor McGregor (22-6) once McGregor is ready to return over the summer. There are still plenty of big fights out there for Poirier and don’t rule him out just yet.

Charles Oliveira submits Dustin Poirier at UFC 269

In the main event of UFC 269 we saw a highly anticipated matchup for the lightweight title. The champion Charles Oliveira (31-8) took on ‘The Diamond’ Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC).

Poirier finally got another crack at the undisputed lightweight title. After capturing the interim title, Poirier got a shot at the UFC‘s undisputed title back in 2019 against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Poirier was submitted in that fight.

However, since then, he hasn’t lost. This year alone, Poirier has defeated former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor twice.

Charles Oliveira might be the most complete lightweight in the UFC and it should be no shock to anyone that he’s become lightweight champion.

With Oliveira, it was never a question regarding talent. On pure talent and skill, you can easily make the argument that he’s near the very top of the UFC. However, he always struggled to put everything together.

You cannot say that anymore. Oliveira has gone on an incredible run and that run culminated at UFC 262 when he stopped Michael Chandler to become undisputed lightweight champion.

UFC 269 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 269 main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Immediate pressure from Oliveira who throws a flying knee. Big elbow inside from Oliveira. However, Poirier sits him down briefly with a big right hand.

However, Oliveira goes right back on the pressure. Big shots from both men. Nice knees to the body from Oliveira but Poirier cracks him with a big shot to get some space. Beautiful lead uppercut from Oliveira. However, again, Poirier lands a nice shot to back him off.

Oliveira shoots for his first takedown. Poirier defends well but eats another knee to the body. Big shots from Poirier seem to rock Oliveira. Oliveira lands another knee to the body. Big body kick from Oliveira.

Big hook from Poirier sits down Oliveira again. However, Oliveira brings him right into the guard to recover. Poirier stands up and he starts pressuring big. Big shots from Poirier and Oliveira looks rocked.

However, Oliveira is standing in the pocket and he’s throwing back heavy shots of his own. Crazy pace and a crazy round one at UFC 269 that should go to Dustin Poirier.

Round 2

Entering the second at UFC 269 and I’m almost out of breath just following this fight. The second round starts with a touch of the gloves. Immediate pressure from Oliveira to start the second round. Big body kick from Oliveira and he shoots for a takedown.

Poirier defending well here against the fence. Knee to the body from Oliveira who is trying to drag Poirier to the ground. Poirier scrambles and Oliveira tries to attack an arm. Oliveira uses that to get the top position.

The champion settles into the guard and he lands a nice elbow. Another big elbow from Oliveira. Nasty ground and pound here from the champion. Poirier is just holding Oliveira here in the second.

Massive elbows from Oliveira who is dominating the challenger here in round two. Thirty seconds left and this has been a very one-sided round for the UFC champion. Punch to the body and elbow up top from the champion. Dominant second round comes to a close for Oliveira.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC 269 and it’s 1-1 after two. Immediate pressure again from the champion and he starts with a body kick. Right straight from Oliveira and he transitions right to a takedown attempt.

Oliveira immediately transitions to the back of the challenger. The champion gets on Poirier’s back and he’s trying for a choke here. Poirier is trying to defend but Oliveira locks the choke in. Poirier tries to fight it but is forced to tap. The UFC lightweight title stays in Brazil.

Charles Oliveira def. Dustin Poirier by Submission – Round 3

UFC 269 Preview: Charles Oliveira – Dustin Poirier

In the main event of UFC 269 we will see a highly anticipated matchup for the lightweight title. The champion Charles Oliveira (31-8) will be looking to successfully defend his title for the first time when he takes on ‘The Diamond’ Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC).

Poirier is finally going to get another crack at the undisputed lightweight title. After capturing the interim title, Poirier got a shot at the UFC‘s undisputed title back in 2019 against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Poirier was submitted in that fight.

However, since then, he hasn’t lost. This year alone, Poirier has defeated former two-division UFC champion Conor McGregor twice. Now, he’s looking to ride that momentum and capture undisputed gold.

That said, he has a very tall order tomorrow night. Charles Oliveira might be the most complete lightweight in the UFC and it should be no shock to anyone that he’s become lightweight champion.

With Oliveira, it was never a question regarding talent. On pure talent and skill, you can easily make the argument that he’s near the very top of the UFC. However, he always struggled to put everything together.

You cannot say that anymore. Oliveira has gone on an incredible run and that run culminated at UFC 262 when he stopped Michael Chandler to become undisputed lightweight champion.

UFC 269 Prediction

This is one of those fights where you truly don’t want either man to lose. Two of the best fighters in the UFC and two of the best individuals you will come across in the promotion. However, someone has to lose, and someone will tomorrow night.

The striking is going to be very interesting to watch. Dustin Poirier has some of the best boxing in the UFC. Charles Oliveira has some of the best pure Muay Thai in the UFC. If this fight is at range, Oliveira has a huge advantage.

However, I don’t think Poirier will keep this at distance. Poirier is best when he goes downhill, and I expect that from him tomorrow. Expect a lot of pressure from The Diamond as he tries to break Oliveira.

One thing to watch out for is the takedowns of Oliveira. Oliveira has perfect timing on his takedowns and if Poirier presses too hard, he might get taken down which is not where you want to be with Charles Oliveira.

I keep going back and forth for this UFC 269 prediction. On technique alone, Oliveira is the better fighter in my opinion. However, when it comes to being just a pure dog inside the octagon, there’s none tougher than Poirier.

I’m expecting fireworks but in the end, I think the kid from Lafayette is going to become undisputed lightweight champion. Poirier’s pressure finally gets to Oliveira and he becomes UFC champion in the fourth.

Prediction: Dustin Poirier by TKO – Round 4

After UFC 268, Justin Gaethje is next in line for the lightweight championship

This past Saturday at UFC 268, we saw one of the best fights if not the best fight of 2021 kicking off the PPV. A lightweight showdown between Justin Gaethje (23-3) and Michael Chandler (22-7) kicked off the UFC 268 main card in style.

Usually when you see a fight that has a ton of hype, the fight normally disappoints. You think to yourself, “There’s no way that this fight can possibly live up to the hype,” and most of the time, it doesn’t. Well, this is one of those times where the fight completely delivered.

From the opening bell at UFC 268, both Gaethje and Chandler through everything that they had at the other. The first round saw Chandler rock Gaethje a couple of times. However, Gaethje landed big shots of his own. In the second round, Gaethje dropped Chandler and nearly finished him.

The final round saw Gaethje throw everything including the kitchen sink at a smiling Michael Chandler. The fight was absolutely incredible and in the end, Justin Gaethje walked away victorious and cemented his status at the top of the division.

Is Gaethje next for the UFC title?

Originally, this fight between Chandler and Gaethje was being looked at as a title eliminator. However, after Islam Makhachev’s performance at UFC 267, there was talk about whether or not Makhachev would jump the line. However, the fight on Saturday put that to rest.

Prior to Saturday night, Gaethje last fought at UFC 254 when he took on Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title. Gaethje lost that fight but he entered the contest as the interim UFC lightweight champion.

Gaethje is now 5-2 in his last seven fights with four stoppages. The only two losses he’s had have come against Khabib and Dustin Poirier. There is no doubt in my mind that Justin Gaethje will be next for the UFC lightweight title.

Next month at UFC 269, Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira will battle for the lightweight title. Whoever wins that fight will have Gaethje waiting for them. Whether it’s a rematch with Poirier or a showdown with Oliveira, Gaethje will be ready for his second crack at undisputed UFC gold.

UFC books Charles Oliveira – Dustin Poirier

dustin poirier, ufc

The fight that’s been rumored for a while is officially signed. We now know that UFC 269 on December 11th will be headlined by the lightweight title fight between the champion Charles Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC) and Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC).

Poirier confirmed that the fight was signed last night on Twitter and the news has been confirmed by MMA Fighting. This matchup has been in the UFC’s plans for over a month, but the fight just became final over the weekend.

Oliveira will be looking to defend his title for the first time when these two meet. He’s riding a very impressive nine-fight winning streak heading into UFC 269. That winning streak culminated by in May when he became the lightweight champion.

The two best lightweights in the UFC was considered to be Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier. With a vacated lightweight title, the UFC wanted these two to fight earlier this year. However, Poirier opted for a fight with Conor McGregor.

The UFC then switched to Oliveira against Michael Chandler. Chandler dominated the opening round almost finishing Oliveira. However, Oliveira came right out in the second round and scored a finish to become the new UFC lightweight champion.

UFC Fighter of the Year?

Dustin Poirier has the chance in December to cap off the greatest year that a combat sports athlete can have. The Diamond got the chance to fight Conor McGregor twice which netted him the biggest paydays of his career.

Poirier walked away with his hand raised both times and saw his star power rise through the roof. Now, he has the chance to do the one thing he hasn’t done which is become the undisputed UFC lightweight champion.

Poirier has tasted UFC gold before when he became the interim lightweight champion. However, he fell short in his attempt to become the undisputed champion. Now, Poirier has his chance to live out his dream and became the undisputed UFC lightweight champion.

UFC targeting December for Charles Oliveira – Dustin Poirier

It looks like we will finally find out who the best lightweight in the UFC is in December. MMA Fighting reported this afternoon that the promotion is zeroing in on a date for the proposed lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira (31-8) and Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC).

That date is December 11th and the event is UFC 269. Worth noting that the UFC has not finalized this and contracts have not been signed. That said, the promotion is moving in that direction and is scheduled to have meetings over the next couple of days to get things finalized.

Finally, Dustin Poirier is going to get another crack at the undisputed UFC lightweight title. After Khabib Nurmagomedov retired and vacated the lightweight title, many thought that Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira should have fought for the vacated title.

However, Poirier decided to secure a money fight instead. Poirier had defeated Conor McGregor back in January and the UFC offered Poirier a title shot or the trilogy with McGregor. Poirier opted for the trilogy fight which was the second highest selling UFC PPV in history.

The Diamond defeated McGregor again in July and his gamble paid off. He secured his big bag of money and now he’s getting the title shot that he deserved all along.

First UFC title defense for Oliveira

Oliveira was in the UFC’s plans for the interim title regardless of what happened with Poirier. Again, Poirier opted to go after the trilogy with McGregor which left Oliveira without an opponent.

Ultimately, the UFC booked Oliveira against Michael Chandler for the vacant undisputed lightweight title. Chandler dominated the first round of the fight and looked moments away from getting the stoppage and becoming UFC champion.

However, Oliveira stayed in the fight and held on until the end of the round. Just seconds into the second round, Oliveira dropped Chandler and went on to finish him to become the UFC lightweight champion.

Now, we are going to get the fight we should’ve had months ago. Make no mistake about it, Oliveira and Poirier are the two best lightweights in the UFC. Now, we will truly find out who is the king at 155 pounds.

Dustin Poirier not committed to any UFC offer; Open to either Charles Oliveira or Nate Diaz next

dustin poirier, ufc

Arguably the best lightweight in the UFC gave one of his first interviews today since his big win last month. Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC) was the first guest on the return of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour on MMA Fighting this afternoon.

The Diamond has been relatively quiet since his second win over Conor McGregor (22-6) back at UFC 264. After Poirier picked up the win, it was universally expected that Poirier would be next in line for the UFC lightweight title.

However, with everything having gone quiet, there’s been no word on that fight getting finalized. While a fight with Poirier is what Charles Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC) is mentally preparing for, it might not be next for Dustin Poirier.

Poirier has always been a lightweight that has gone on his own path. Outside of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Poirier has been the best lightweight in the UFC over the last few years. If you think of any top lightweight outside of Oliveira and Nurmagomedov, Poirier has defeated them.

Originally, the UFC wanted Poirier to fight Oliveira for the title at UFC 262. However, Poirier chased the money fight and cashed in with a second win over Conor McGregor. Now, Poirier is in a very similar position.

UFC Title or Money Fight?

Poirier has been the target of recent callouts from the one and only Nate Diaz (20-13). Diaz is one of the biggest stars in the UFC and he’s been calling for a fight with Dustin Poirier for a long time.

The fight with Nate Diaz is something that Poirier has also wanted for a long time as he told Helwani today. Diaz has lost two consecutive fights, but neither fight has done anything to diminish his star power. In fact, his star power has seemingly become even greater.

He last fought at UFC 263 when he fought Leon Edwards at 170 pounds. Edwards was considered one of the best in the welterweight division and Diaz wanted to fight him because of how good he was.

Edwards controlled most of the fight, but Nate Diaz came on strong and almost finished Edwards in the final minute. While Edwards got the win, all the talk was about Nate Diaz after UFC 263.

Diaz and Poirier were once scheduled to fight and the fight fell through. Since then, both have gone back-and-forth with each other over social media. A fight between the two men seems inevitable.

Helwani told Poirier today that he believes the money fight for Poirier would be Diaz. However, the legacy fight would be for the UFC title. In reality, the ball is in Poirier’s court just like it was earlier this year. What will he do: Fight Charles Oliveira or Fight Nate Diaz? Time will tell on this one.

UFC: Would Dustin Poirier bypass title shot for money fight with Nate Diaz?

dustin poirier, ufc

Last weekend at UFC 264, Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC) picked up his second win over Conor McGregor (22-6) after McGregor broke his leg. With the win, Poirier has secured the next shot at Charles Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC) for the UFC lightweight title.

Through everything that’s happened since Khabib’s retirement, Dustin Poirier – Charles Oliveira have seemed destined to fight. These two are clearly the two best lightweights in the UFC and finally it appears their paths will cross.

However, there is one thing that could throw a wrench into all of this. That one thing is UFC superstar Nate Diaz (20-13). Make no mistake about it, Diaz is one of the biggest stars in the entire promotion.

Stockton’s own hunts for the big fights and he always wants to fight the best. He’s had his radar on Dustin Poirier for a long time now and that hasn’t changed. This week, Diaz took to Twitter to call out Poirier. Poirier responded say, “I’ll touch you up at any weight.”

Could Poirier bypass his UFC title shot?

If there’s anyone you should want to be in the UFC right now it’s Dustin Poirier. After Khabib retired, nobody denied the fact that Poirier is the top lightweight in the promotion. He got his huge money fight with Conor McGregor, then he was put in charge of his own destiny.

The UFC offered him the McGregor trilogy or a shot at Charles Oliveira. Poirier picked the McGregor trilogy and he made the right choice as he won the fight and the PPV did 1.8 million buys which is the second highest of all time.

Poirier earned himself a massive payday and now he still gets his UFC title shot. However, could Poirier chase another massive payday? There is unfinished business between Poirier and Diaz as they were supposed to fight a couple of years ago.

However, Poirier had to have surgery and the fight was called off. The UFC never made the fight again, but both men have continued to call the other out. It’s a dream fight for fight fans and it’s definitely something the promotion would be interested in booking.

If I had to guess, I think Poirier takes the title shot this time. He got the biggest fight possible with the McGregor trilogy and now it’s time for him to chase gold. However, if the Diaz fight does happen instead, I certainly wouldn’t be shocked.