After big knockout at UFC Vegas 19, what’s next for Derrick Lewis?

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 19, the heavyweights took center stage. In the main event, “The Black Beast” Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) took on Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (14-3, 1 NC). Both men carried winning streaks into the octagon on Saturday night.

Curtis Blaydes was the heavy betting favorite on Saturday night. Blaydes was the second ranked heavyweight in the UFC and outside of Francis Ngannou, nobody has been able to touch him inside the octagon. Most expected a heavy dose of wrestling from Blaydes on Saturday night.

Derrick Lewis is the heavyweight knockout king. He stands alone atop the UFC‘s heavyweights when it comes to knockouts. The Black Beast has freak power and for that reason, many expected Blaydes to focus on the wrestling and grappling. We’ve seen Lewis struggle there before.

However, early on in the fight, Blaydes was content with standing with Lewis. Curtis Blaydes seemed apprehensive and tentative to shoot with the power of Lewis. Derrick Lewis seemed to be trying to time an uppercut on a shot from Blaydes.

In the first round, Curtis Blaydes actually got the better of the standup. The range was really bothering Lewis and Blaydes seemed to find a rhythm on the feet. In the second round, Blaydes tried to transition to his wrestling. However, Lewis defended the first takedown and they stayed standing.

On the second takedown attempt, Lewis landed the uppercut that he was trying to time. A lifeless Blaydes flopped to the floor and ate a few follow up shots. Another knockout win for the UFC‘s heavyweight knockout king.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 19?

When the UFC rankings come out tomorrow, I would fully expect Derrick Lewis to be ranked second. He’s now on a four-fight win streak and he also holds a victory over current top contender, Francis Ngannou.

While many focus on just his knockouts and his interviews, Lewis has put together quite the run in the UFC’s heavyweight division. If Jon Jones wasn’t moving to heavyweight, The Black Beast would be getting the winner of Miocic/Ngannou 2 which happens next month.

However, with Jones getting the next shot at the title, the UFC will have to do something else with Lewis. The perfect fight for Lewis is the winner of this weekend’s main event at UFC Vegas 20.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane are battling it out and whoever wins will be ranked in the top five. Lewis hasn’t fought either of those top contenders so a matchup between them would make perfect sense. Perhaps that would be the co-main event to the Jones heavyweight title fight later in the summer.

UFC Update: Injury to Dominick Reyes pushes back the Jiri Prochazka fight

Dominick Reyes

A massive fight in the UFC‘s light heavyweight division is being pushed back. First reported by Farah Hannoun, the fight between Dominick Reyes (12-2) and Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1) is off. There are reports circulating this morning saying that a Reyes injury forced the fight back.

Originally, this fight was supposed to headline the UFC‘s fight night on February 27th. However, yesterday a tweet from Jairzinho Rozenstruik signaled that the fight might be in jeopardy. We now know that Rozenstruik – Ciryl Gane is going to headline the 2/27 card. 

At this time, there is no word on the significance of the injury to Dominick Reyes. Reyes was looking to bounce back in 2021 after having a very tough 2020. Dominick Reyes fought Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) last February at UFC 247.

The fight was razor close and many believed that Reyes won the fight. However, the judges gave the fight to Jon Jones. After that fight, Jones would ultimately decide to vacate the light heavyweight title to pursue the heavyweight title.

At UFC 253, Reyes got another opportunity against Jan Blachowicz (27-8). Reyes was looked at as the uncrowned champion going into the contest. However, the legendary Polish Power put Reyes down in the second round to capture the light heavyweight title.

That loss was just the icing on the cake of a rough year for Dominick Reyes. He rode a ton of momentum into that fight with many believing he defeated the goat just to be stopped by Blachowicz. This fight with Prochazka is a chance for him to right the ship.

UFC Newcomer

On the UFC’s first trip to Fight Island, Jiri Prochazka made his highly anticipated debut with the promotion. The global MMA scene was very familiar with Prochazka, but he was a bit of an unknown to a lot of fight fans.

The promotion gave him a tough test right away in former title challenger, Volkan Oezdemir (17-5). The fight was incredibly entertaining and Prochazka showed off some of his personality in that fight.

In the second round, Prochazka landed a massive right hand that put Oezdemir out cold. A huge UFC debut for Prochazka and that win launched him into the top five of the rankings. If he can beat Dominick Reyes whenever they fight, Jiri Prochazka might be getting a title shot in 2021.

UFC targeting two massive title fights for second March PPV

MMA, Stipe Miocic

Since the calendar turned over to 2021, the UFC has been busy working on building it’s biggest year yet. They are kicking off the new year with a bang with three fantastic cards on Fight Island that starts tomorrow with Max Holloway – Calvin Kattar.

Of course, the biggest star in the sport, Conor McGregor, is headlining the first PPV next weekend at UFC 257. Despite all of this excitement in the next week, it’s actually the month of March that’s getting the hype.

The UFC has already announced a massive PPV event to kick things off in March. UFC 259 is scheduled for March 6th and has three title fights booked for that card with the headliner being Israel Adesanya – Jan Blachowicz.

Tonight, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani is reporting that the promotion has plans for another massive PPV at the end of March. Per Helwani, UFC 260 is being targeted for March 27th and the card would feature Stipe Miocic – Francis Ngannou 2 and Alexander Volkanovski – Brian Ortega.

Two UFC title fights

To start things off, it should be known that neither one of these fights for UFC 260 are finalized. However, let’s move with assumption that they will get done and let’s start with the main event of the evening.

The rematch between Stipe Miocic (20-3) and Francis Ngannou (15-3) is a fight that UFC fans have been waiting for. Ngannou has knocked out four straight opponents in the first round while Miocic just concluded his trilogy with Daniel Cormier.

While Miocic dominated the first fight, the general consensus is that Ngannou will be the favorite at UFC 260. Ngannou is looking better than ever while Miocic isn’t quite as good as he was when they first fought. The winner will take on Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) later in the summer.

Then we have the co-main event of the evening. The UFC featherweight title will be on the line as Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) will be taking on Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC). Volkanovski will be making his second title defense.

In my opinion, Brian Ortega looked like the best featherweight in the world when he fought Chan Sung Jung back in October. Ortega has always been known for his ground skills, but his striking looked sensational.

Factoring both of those in with his cardio and size and you have a problem for the division. Despite being the champion, Alexander Volkanovski will have a lot to prove at UFC 260.

Most people believe that he lost to Max Holloway in their rematch in July. He will need to come out and make a statement to show the world that he truly is the best in the UFC’s featherweight division. This event is not official, but if it gets done, March is going to be insane.

Who will be the UFC champions after 2021? (Welterweight – Heavyweight)

UFC, Jon Jones

Yesterday, I went through the UFC’s flyweight – lightweight divisions and listed out who I believed would be standing as champion after 2021. Unlike 2020, I’m expecting some title to change hands inside the octagon in 2021.

2020 was the first time in the modern UFC era that not a single champion lost their title in a fight. Belts were vacated in 2020, however, if a champion made the walk with the belt, they walked out with the belt.

2021 is promising to be a very tough year for the UFC champions. Every one who is a current title holder is more than capable of holding on to their belts, however, it’s going to be far from easy.

The fights we already know about that are booked look tough on the champions. For example, the UFC is booking Petr Yan (15-1) against Aljamain Sterling (19-3) and Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) against Brian Ortega (15-1,1 NC).

The champions will likely enter the octagon as the betting favorite in both of those matchups. However, I personally see both challengers as the favorites when looking at the skillsets and attributes inside those matchups.

The champions in the heavier divisions are also in for some rough matchups in 2021. Lets go from the welterweight division through the UFC‘s heavyweight division and pick who will be standing as champion after this year.

UFC Champions after 2021 (Welterweight – Heavyweight)

Welterweight – Gilbert Burns

The first division up is the UFC’s welterweight division. Champion, Kamaru Usman (17-1), is booked to face Gilbert Burns (19-3) in the headliner of UFC 258. This fight has been booked a couple of times.

Originally, the two men were supposed to fight at UFC 251. However, Gilbert Burns tested positive for COVID-19 and didn’t end up getting the shot. The promotion then tried to book this fight for December, but Kamaru Usman needed a little time to heal from his last fight.

Now, these former teammates are finally going to battle. Kamaru Usman lives up to his nickname in that he’s a nightmare for virtually all of his opponents. His strong wrestling and smothering style are incredibly difficult to deal with.

It’s one of the reasons why he hasn’t lost since his second professional fight. Usman is sensational, however, if there’s one man who has the style to beat Usman, it’s Gilbert Burns.

Burns is world class on the ground as a BJJ world champion. Not only that, but in 2020, he showed just how dangerous his hands are. He’s incredibly fast and powerful on the feet. I believe he will have the striking advantage whenever these two fight.

For now, I think that Burns is going to get the job done next month. I just think he has the perfect style to become the UFC champion. In looking at welterweight right now, I’m not sure anyone will take the belt from Burns if he gets it. At least not in 2021.

Middleweight & Light Heavyweight – Israel Adesanya

I’m lumping these next two UFC divisions together because I think one man will hold both titles after 2021. The middleweight and light heavyweight champion after 2021 will be The Last Stylebender, Israel Adesanya (20-0).

After doubting him for a while, I’m completely sold on Adesanya. Every time you start to doubt this man or believe someone will give him problems, he puts on the best performance of his career to shut everyone up.

Very much reminds me of Anderson Silva in his prime in that sense. Adesanya is already the middleweight champion and I don’t see anyone posing a threat to him at 185. I believe he’s just head and shoulders ahead of the competition there.

Adesanya is moving up to challenge Jan Blachowicz (27-8) at UFC 259 for the light heavyweight championship. This is going to be a tough fight for stylebender and Blachowicz is the most powerful fighter that Adesanya has ever fought.

It’s not going to be an easy fight, however, I think when it’s over, Adesanya is getting his second title. I’m not sure what fights will come after that for Adesanya, but I believe he will defeat anyone at either division that’s not named Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC).

Heavyweight – Jon Jones

Last but not least, we have the UFC’s heavyweight division. Who will leave 2021 with the title of baddest man on the planet? Well, I believe that the baddest man on the plan will also have the title as The GOAT.

Jon Jones is currently working on his move to the heavyweight division. Jones vacated his light heavyweight title in 2020 to focus on capturing the heavyweight championship of the world.

Stipe Miocic (20-3) currently reigns at heavyweight. Miocic is the greatest heavyweight in UFC history with two title reigns and a combined four title defenses which is unheard of in the heavyweight division.

Stipe has a very tough test in front of him for his first title defense of 2021. Miocic is taking on Francis Ngannou (15-3) for the second time. This fight is expected to take place in either March or April.

In my heart of hearts, I don’t see Stipe Miocic winning the rematch. He dominated the first fight between the two, but I believe both men are heading in opposite directions. Francis Ngannou is going to become the champion.

However, regardless of who wins, the winner will fight Jon Jones in either the summer or the fall. I think that a motivated Jon Jones beats either one of those men. Yes, Francis has power, but Jones’ striking defense is sensational.

I think his style would keep Ngannou at range and he’d be able to beat him on the cards. At this stage in their careers, I don’t see Miocic being able to beat Jones really wherever the fight goes. With that in mind, Bones will leave 2021 with heavyweight gold.

Israel Adesanya could become the UFC’s first three-division champion

One of the biggest stars in the UFC today is the middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (20-0). The undefeated Adesanya has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years due to his performances and his personality.

The Last Stylebender has an incredibly flashy style inside and outside the octagon. Even his ring walks are entertaining like the dancing routine he did prior to his fight with Robert Whittaker at UFC 243.

I will be the first to admit, I thought Adesanya was more hype than substance. While I thought he was good, I didn’t foresee him being nearly as good as he’s shown. Stylebender has shown me that as soon as you doubt him, he performs his best.

After he defeated Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236, he earned a lot of respect due to the heart that he showed. However, he also showed that he wasn’t invincible and many believed that Robert Whittaker would take him out at UFC 243.

Instead, Adesanya destroyed Whittaker and knocked him out in the second round. Early in the year last year, Adesanya took on Yoel Romero at UFC 248. The fight was far from entertaining and some even believed that Romero won the fight.

With the lack of action in the fight, some cooled off Stylebender. I will be the first to admit that I actually picked him to lose to Paulo Costa at UFC 253. Instead, Adesanya dazzled again and won by second round knockout.

UFC’s first three-division world champion

News recently broke that Adesanya is going to be moving up in his next fight. He’s going to be moving up to light heavyweight at UFC 259 to challenge the light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz (27-8).

It’ll be a big test for Adesanya. It’ll be interesting to see how he holds up against someone as powerful as Blachowicz. While Adesanya’s current plan is to win the title and ultimately return to middleweight, he could have the chance at history.

Adesanya has been very vocal about his future desire to fight Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Jones is considered by many to be the greatest fighter of all time. Jones is currently preparing for a heavyweight title fight later this year.

If Jones and Adesanya both were to win, a superfight could materialize. I could see the UFC attempting to pair the two against each other at heavyweight. If that were to happen, Adesanya would have the chance to hold three belts at the same time which has never been done before.

Even if Jones doesn’t win the title and let’s say Stipe Miocic (20-3) remains the champion, Adesanya’s coach has talked about fighting Stipe. The interest is there for Stylebender to potentially test himself at heavyweight as well.

The reality is that there is a roadmap for Adesanya to do something truly special in the UFC. Holding three titles simultaneously has never even been discussed before. However, Adesanya could become the first fighter in history to do it between this year and next.

UFC champions that are likely to lose in 2021

Corey Anderson

2020 was a great year if you were a UFC champion. Not a single champion lost their title in a title fight during 2020. There were some vacated title, however, nobody lost their title inside the octagon.

I don’t believe we are going to see the same thing for the UFC champions in 2021. There are some stacked divisions in the UFC and there are champions that have incredibly tough title defenses ahead of them.

There are a few champions who aren’t even going to be favored in their next title defense. Even if the champions get through their first difficult defense, many divisions have even tougher matchups awaiting the champions.

With that, I wanted to go through the divisions and pick out some UFC champions that I believe are at the highest risk in 2021. Some titles won’t change hands in 2021 while others are almost guarantees in my opinion.

Three UFC champions that will lose in 2021

Stipe Miocic

The first champion and in my opinion the most likely champion that I see losing his UFC title in 2021 is Stipe Miocic (20-3). The greatest heavyweight in the promotions history has a nightmare of a year in front of him in 2021.

Miocic’s first title defense will come against Francis Ngannou (15-3). The fight is a rematch from UFC 220. That night saw Miocic completely dominate Ngannou and overwhelm the dangerous challenger.

However, I believe that the rematch is going to go differently. Ngannou has rededicated himself to his career and I believe he’s going to enter their title fight better than ever. I can’t say the same thing for the UFC heavyweight champion.

I’m not sure we are going to see the best version of Stipe Miocic whenever they fight. Stipe is definitely capable of winning, but he’s going to need to be the best version of himself. Anything short of it and he’s getting put to sleep.

Let’s say that Stipe Miocic makes it through Ngannou. Well, then he has to face the greatest of all time in Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Jones is moving to heavyweight after dominating the UFC’s light heavyweight division for over a decade.

So if Miocic makes it through Ngannou, he has an even tougher task in front of him in defeating Jon Jones. With those two challenges in front of him, I don’t see Miocic making it out of 2021 with the UFC heavyweight title.

Jan Blachowicz

The next UFC champion that will fall in 2021 is the new light heavyweight champion, Jan Blachowicz (27-8). Blachowicz has completely turned his career around the last few years and it culminated at UFC 253.

That night, Blachowicz took on Dominick Reyes (12-2) for the light heavyweight title. Reyes was the favorite, however, Blachowicz used his famous Polish Power to dominate Reyes and capture the title.

Blachowicz has all of the makings to be a UFC champion that could reign for a while. However, he has a nightmare of a matchup in his first defense. He will be taking on the middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (20-0), at UFC 259.

Adesanya is moving up to try and become a two-division UFC champion. I believe this is an awful matchup for Blachowicz. The light heavyweight champion is going to go have to either grapple Adesanya or catch him with one big shot.

He’s definitely got the power to put Adesanya out, but in a pure striking matchup, I think he’s going to get lit up. While it’s been a great story, I think the reign of the Polish Power ends at UFC 259 at the hands of Israel Adesanya.

Alexander Volkanovski

The final UFC champion that I will touch on is the featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski (22-1). Volkanovski has been on an incredible run inside the octagon and he’s going to be defending his featherweight title for the second time in early 2021.

Volkanovski’s first title defense came at UFC 251 against former champion, Max Holloway (21-6). In the eyes of most, Holloway won that fight, but two of the judges gave the fight to Volkanovski.

It marked the second straight win for Volkanovski over Holloway. Had it not been the second straight win, we’d likely have seen an immediate rematch. Nevertheless, the division is moving forward to start the year.

First up for Volkanovski will be Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC). Ortega is fresh off of his victory over The Korean Zombie back in October. In my opinion, the Brian Ortega we saw that night was the best featherweight in the UFC.

His striking had gotten so much better since the last time we saw him. He’s big, he’s elite on the ground and now his striking is developed. He’s going to be an extremely tough out for the UFC champion.

However, should Volkanovski get by Ortega, there’s a number of difficult fights. I could see him having to fight Holloway again and after the second fight, I might lean towards Max Holloway in the trilogy.

Another tough fight for Volkanovski could be Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1). Zabit didn’t fight in 2020, however, he’s looked at as one of the best contenders in the division. Zabit could cause a lot of problems for Volkanovski.

Out of the three champions I’ve listed, Volkanovski would be the one I’m the least surprised by keeping his UFC title. However, with the guys lined up behind him, I would bet on him falling in 2021.

Three Superfights the UFC can make in 2021

Conor McGregor, UFC

2021 is promising to be a big year for the UFC. The world’s leader in mixed martial arts had a very good 2020 despite the global pandemic. Now, the promotion is poised to capitalize and have an even bigger 2021.

They are starting their year with an incredible three-fight run on Fight Island ending with the rematch between Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) at UFC 257. The UFC is starting out the year with a bang.

There are so many big matchups that the UFC is already talking about booking. You have Israel Adesanya (20-0) moving up to challenge Jan Blachowicz (27-8) at UFC 259. Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is moving up to heavyweight to go for the UFC heavyweight title.

These are fights that are already set in stone. However, there are some major superfights that the UFC could attempt to make in 2021. These fights would depend on the fighters winning early in the year, but if they do, there’s a big opportunity for the promotion.

UFC Superfights in 2021

Khabib Nurmagomedov – Conor McGregor 2

Dana White recently said that the UFC will attempt to make this fight happen should McGregor win at UFC 257. What makes this fight hard to pull off is getting Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) to agree to it.

White is planning on talking with Khabib on Fight Island about his future. Khabib retired after he defended his title at UFC 254, however, White said that he’s going to try to convince him to come back.

Should McGregor win in January, there’s not a bigger fight the UFC could make in terms of dollar signs. McGregor is the biggest star in the sport, but Khabib is a big star on his own. The two men hate each other and a brawl ensued after their first fight.

In my opinion, they are going to get the chance to make this happen. I believe that McGregor will win at UFC 257, and then eyes will turn to the talks between White and Khabib. If Khabib agrees to it, it might be the biggest UFC PPV of all time.

Jon Jones – Israel Adesanya

There is no questioning that Khabib and McGregor would be the biggest PPV seller. However, the biggest superfight the UFC could make between two fighters in 2021 is the potential matchup between Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya.

Jones is considered to be the greatest fighter that the UFC has ever seen. Adesanya is looked at as the new-breed who is on his way to becoming the UFC’s biggest superstar. Stylebender is attempting to become a two-division champion at UFC 259.

These two men have long talked about fighter each other. Jones is currently preparing to fight for the heavyweight title in the summer. If Jones is able to win and Adesanya is able to win at UFC 259, the two men would control three titles.

There has never been a potential superfight where the champions of three combined divisions would face off. Combine that with the personal animosity and you have the makings for a massive fight that could take place at the end of 2021.

Amanda Nunes – Valentina Shevchenko 3

This might not be a superfight that everyone wants to see, but it’s sure one I want to see. UFC two-division champion, Amanda Nunes (20-4), taking on the UFC flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko (20-3), for a third time.

Both of these champions are so dominant in their divisions that nobody truly questions whether they will win their next fight or not. The debate is more centered around how they will win their fights.

These two have fought twice before with Nunes winning both. However, their fight at UFC 215 in 2017 was razor close. I’ve watched the fight a few times and I can see the argument for the judges giving it to either fighter.

The lack of challenges in their divisions is truly a testament to the dominance of the two champions. Their next challenges are set as Nunes will take on Megan Anderson while Shevchenko will fight former strawweight champion, Jessica Andrade.

Should both win, I think the UFC should seriously think about the trilogy. It would make all the sense in the world, and I don’t think there are UFC fans out there who would complain about seeing these two greats fight one more time.

UFC: Jon Jones says he’s never returning to light heavyweight

UFC, Jon Jones

Earlier this year, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) vacated his UFC light heavyweight championship. Jones decided to vacate the title to pursue a new challenge in the heavyweight division. He first captured the light heavyweight title in 2011.

Jon Jones might be the greatest fighter the UFC has ever seen. Jones has never truly lost inside the octagon. His lone loss is a disqualification loss to Matt Hamill in a fight that he was completely dominating.

Outside of that, he’s rarely been challenged over the last 12 years in the UFC. In reality, Jon Jones has been the only opponent that has been detrimental to Jon Jones. Jones’ issues outside the cage have cost him time in his career and his title a couple of times.

Nevertheless, Jones has overcome those issues and had a great stretch over the last two years in the octagon. All starting at UFC 232 when he finished Alexander Gustafsson to regain the light heavyweight title.

After that he defeated Anthony Smith, Thiago Santos, and Dominick Reyes by decision. Not the most dominant performances, but in the end, they show up as successful UFC title defenses for Jones.

Jones has been so dominant that he appeared bored at times when fighting. In my opinion, this boredom or lack of fear caused for some bad performances. Still, he’s come through all of his fights with his hand raised.

UFC Future for Jones

Jon Jones is in the process of building up his body for his next chapter in the UFC‘s heavyweight division. In an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report, Jones discussed the decision to move to heavyweight and vacate the light heavyweight title.

“The reason why I decided to vacate the light heavyweight belt and not hang onto it is that I knew my move to heavyweight was going to take a really long time. I have no intentions of ever going back to light heavyweight,” Jones said.

Jones also said that the current plan is for him to face the winner of the UFC heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic (20-3) and Francis Ngannou (15-3). Those two are expected to fight in March with Jones fighting the winner in the summer or fall.

Jones also talked about the challenge of both saying, “I’ll be ready for either of them. Both fights are extremely challenging. Stipe, he’s the greatest heavyweight of all time. And then Francis is just a freak when it comes to his knockout power, and he’s improving constantly.”

He then added, “Both fights are gigantic challenges, but that’s what I’m here for in this stage of my career. Go big and see what I’ve got.” Jon Jones understands that capturing the UFC heavyweight title would cement him as the greatest to ever do it.

He said he wants to capture the title then defend it two or three times before retiring from the UFC. Outside of the heavyweight title is of course the potential matchup with rival Israel Adesanya (20-0).

Adesanya is moving up to fight Jan Blachowicz (27-8) for the light heavyweight title at UFC 259. If Adesanya wins and Jones wins, the UFC might try to make a superfight. It would be the first time a two-division champion would take on another champion.

State of the UFC’s heavyweight division entering 2021

MMA, Stipe Miocic

2021 will usher in a new day in the heavyweight division. As we enter January 2021, it has been three years since UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic (20-3), fought someone not named Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC).

At UFC 220 back in January of 2018, Miocic defended his title against Francis Ngannou (15-3). Ngannou was being billed as the next big thing having destroyed every contender the UFC had put in front of him.

However, Miocic showed off his greatness that night shutting out the French contender. However, Miocic would lose his title in the summer of 2018 when he was knocked out in the first round by Daniel Cormier.

The UFC then angled for Cormier to face Brock Lesnar in a superfight. The proposed matchup with Lesnar was supposed to be Cormier’s last UFC fight. The fight never materialized and Cormier went on to defend his title against Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC).

Cormier defeated Lewis and waited for the Lesnar fight. Again, it never came together so Cormier decided to give Stipe Miocic a rematch at UFC 241. After dominating the fight early, Cormier got knocked out by Miocic in the fourth round.

After that fight, Miocic needed to take some time off. A year later, Miocic and Cormier finished their trilogy at UFC 252 in Cormier’s last fight. Miocic won the fight by unanimous decision cementing himself as the heavyweight GOAT.

UFC’s heavyweight division in 2021

With the Miocic – Cormier trilogy behind us, it’s time for the UFC’s heavyweight division to move on in 2021. However, Miocic will face a familiar foe in his first title defense of the year. He will once again take on Francis Ngannou.

Ngannou’s losses to Miocic then Derrick Lewis might have been the best thing for him. He’s rededicated himself to the sport and he’s looked untouchable since. After losing a decision to Lewis, Ngannou is 4-0 with four first round knockouts.

Not only that, but none of those opponents have gone more than 71 seconds. The UFC’s predator looks better than ever and he’s expected to face Miocic in March for the heavyweight title.

Another exciting aspect of the heavyweight division in 2021 is the arrival of Jon Jones (26-1,1 NC). Jones is widely considered to be the greatest fighter of all-time and he’s finally decided to move up to heavyweight.

After reigning over light heavyweight for nearly a decade, Jones is preparing for a shot at the heavyweight title. He’s expected to face the winner of Miocic – Ngannou over the summer or early next fall.

Other Contenders

Behind Jones there are a number of compelling contenders. Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) are expected to faceoff in 2021. They were supposed to fight in November, however, Blaydes tested positive for COVID and the fight was scrapped.

Both contenders have multiple fight winning streaks. A win for either man would put them in great position. The guy to really watch out for is Ciryl Gane (7-0). Gane just knocked out JDS at UFC 256 and is poised to be a top contender.

Of course, Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC) and Alexander Volkov (32-8) are two others to watch out for. They headline a Fight Night in February. Of course there’s still Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1) out there who’s ranked third at heavyweight at the moment.

Miocic is finally done with Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones is entering the heavyweight picture. Francis Ngannou looks better than ever and there’s a ton of hungry and dangerous contenders behind him. Should be a fun year at heavyweight in 2021.

State of the UFC’s light heavyweight division entering 2021

Corey Anderson

Last night, we got big announcement for the light heavyweight division. At UFC 259, Jan Blachowicz (27-8) will be defending his light heavyweight crown against the middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (20-0).

It’s a massive fight with huge implications for the UFC‘s light heavyweight division. 2020 has been a very fascinating year at 205 pounds. When the year started, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) was getting ready to defend his title against Dominick Reyes (12-2).

The fight took place at UFC 247. Reyes pushed Jones to the absolute limit and many believed that he won that fight. However, all three judges awarded Jones the decision and Jones walked away with his title.

Shortly after that, Jan Blachowicz knocked out Corey Anderson who was looked at as the next top contender. Jones was in attendance and the two men did a little talking through the cage. It appeared that would be the next title fight.

However, Jones decided to vacate his UFC light heavyweight title to pursue the heavyweight title. When Jones vacated, the promotion booked Blachowicz against Dominick Reyes for the vacant title at UFC 253.

Dominick Reyes was an uncrowned champion in the eyes of many in the MMA community after his fight with Jones. However, his uncrowned reign didn’t last long because Blachowicz knocked him out in the second round to capture the light heavyweight title.

UFC’s light heavyweight division in 2021

As mentioned, we already have the first title fight booked for UFC 259. Now, depending on who wins that fight, there are different fights that could be booked. If Blachowicz retains his title, Glover Teixeira (32-7) will be next.

The 41 year old Teixeira is riding a five-fight winning streak. He had an incredible 2020 where he finished former title challengers Anthony Smith (34-16) and Thiago Santos (21-8). However, he’s being passed over for Adesanya at this time.

The UFC has said that he’s the next contender, but the promotion is always about booking the biggest fights. While it’s not fair to Teixeira, his fight against Blachowicz is no where near as big as Adesanya moving up.

If Adesanya wins at UFC 259, I don’t see Teixeira getting the next shot. The reason is that I think the UFC will do everything they can to book the fight between Adesanya and Jon Jones should Adesanya capture the light heavyweight title.

Jones is intent on becoming heavyweight champion over the summer. Imagine a fall blockbuster that pairs the two-division champion, Adesanya, against the new heavyweight champion, Jon Jones.

That is the current status at the very top of the division. The contender I have my eyes on as we enter 2021 is Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1). Prochazka hasn’t lost in five years and he made his debut with the promotion at UFC 251.

He’s a very entertaining fighter and he put Volkan Oezdemir to sleep when they fought. He fights Dominick Reyes in February in a pivotal matchup for the division. 2021 is going to be interesting year for the light heavyweights.

I honestly don’t know what path the division is going to go down. The paths are vastly different depending on who wins at UFC 259 between Blachowicz and Adesanya.