Five UFC Predictions For 2021
By; Clint MacLean (@DieHardMMAPOD)
2020 has been a long year, and it has been hard for many people. We can count ourselves lucky that Dana White is the kind of person he is and was able to keep the show rolling when a lot of people said he shouldn’t. The UFC had a record-breaking year even with all the hurdles they had to go through, and we have the stage set for a HUGE 2021. Here are my top 5 predictions for what we can expect next year in the world of MMA.
1. TJ Dillashaw returns to the Bantamweight Top 5
Okay, let’s start with an easy one. Remember TJ Dillashaw? The disgraced former Bantamweight champion? Yea, his suspension is finally over in 2021. TJ is a rare talent who lit the lower weight classes on fire. Since his run on the ultimate fighter, TJ has been a monster in the UFC, and his rivalries with former teammate Cody Garbrant and former champion Dominick Cruz have been legendary. TJ has been one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC for years, and people have forgotten all about him because of his USADA suspension. TJ is still in the prime of his career, and the real question surrounding him is if he will rebound from the PEDs he was on well or not.
Personally, I believe that TJ is more than the PEDs he was taking. TJ has been working with “Bang” Ludwig to stay on the forefront of MMA for years, and his reign as champion showed that he was capable of evolving and staying ahead of his division. With two years off, I expect that TJ’s body will have healed up, and he will have new wrinkles in his game to show us. The ONLY reason I didn’t make this prediction TJ regains his title at Bantamweight is because I am a firm believer in the skill set of Petr Yan. I do think those two will cross paths, and when it does, that will be an absolute war.
Last time in New York…
— UFC (@ufc) January 18, 2019
2. Nunes vs. Shevchenko 3
The top two greatest female fighters are on a crash course. Even though we have seen Nunes vs. Shevchenko fight twice, there is plenty of mileage left in another battle. The second fight was close enough that many scored it for Shevchenko, even though the record says Nunes won the fight. Shevchenko, since stropping a weight class, has become the undisputed queen of the women’s Flyweight division. Meanwhile, Nunes has reigned with an iron fist over women’s Bantamweight and moved up to take the Featherweight title for good measure. Weili Zhang may have something to say about Shevchenko and Nunes being the greatest women fighters we have ever seen. Still, she needs to take some time establishing herself as a dominant champion before we can have her seriously in this conversation. Both Shevchenko and Nunes are on the verge of clearing out their respective divisions, and that leaves just one challenge left for each of them, and that is round 3.
— danawhite (@danawhite) July 2, 2017
3. Conor McGregor retakes the Lightweight title
You had to know this was coming. It might not be all that bold to say that with Khabib out of the picture, The Notorious Conor McGregor is still very likely the best Lightweight fighter on the planet. His mass inactivity has been a problem over the last few years, but if Conor is to be believed, he is now refocused on his fighting career, and he is returning to the main stage during his physical prime. Conor has made his mistakes, and he has made his money. A focused and dialed in McGregor is a scary, scary man, and I believe that is what we will see come January 2021. There is a genuine reality that the fight between Conor and Dustin Poirier could be for the 155 strap, and even Khabib has put his vote in for them to fight for the vacant title. Dana White needs that carrot to dangle and is still holding out hope that Khabib will return for one more fight against McGregor for the biggest rematch in MMA history. I personally don’t think we will see Khabib again, and that provides the opportunity for McGregor to retake the crown.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) December 31, 2020
4. Francis Ngannou KOs Stipe Miocic
I have been waiting for Ngannou vs. Miocic 2 for YEARS. The DC vs. Stipe trilogy was entertaining, and it was definitely deserved, but it kept the hottest prospect in heavyweight history sidelined for far too long. Francis Ngannous is the scariest man to walk the earth, and he is destined to be the champion of the UFC’s Heavyweight division. Looking back on his fight with Miocic the first time have no idea how Stipe took some of the shots that he did. I personally believe that we can attribute some of Daniel Cormier’s knockout win over Stipe to the damage he had not recovered from after his fight with Francis. Stipe was very clear about wanting any other challenge than Francis, but the young star has left him no choice. While Stipe has had his hands full with DC, Francis has been busy cleaning out the division. Francis Ngannou stands head and shoulders above all other contenders in the Heavyweight division, and his time has finally come. I don’t see an aged and battle withered Stipe surviving a second fight with the new and improved Francis, and I fully expect Francis to clean the division out again as champion.
Francis Ngannou in 2020:
Just a scary human
Ngannou is currently on a 4 fight win streak and waiting for his rematch with Stipe Miocic pic.twitter.com/wLG6KEFLDU
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) December 29, 2020
5. Khamzat Chimaev Takes the Welterweight Belt
That’s right! The hottest prospect of 2020! Khamzat Chimaev lit the MMA world on fire, and I think this kid is legit. I know there is a lot of room to test Khamzat, but I have seen what I need to see. This kid is a monster and the real deal. We haven’t seen a prospect this hot EVER in the history of MMA. Even Conor McGregor’s meteoric rise can’t be compared to how quickly the UFC is pushing Khamzat. Sadly the fight between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev fell through, but the fact that the UFC lined up the newly ranked #15 Khamzat with the #3 Leon Edwards, who the UFC has no interest in pushing, speaks volumes about what they believe this kid is capable of. Leon Edwards is a scary good fighter, and people just do not understand exactly how dangerous he is because he has a “boring” fighting style, and the UFC has put zero effort into marketing him.
Khamzat will SMESH the entire 170 division and probably half of the 185-pound division while he is at it. The only issue with this prediction is the slow pace of Welterweight and the inactivity of fighters like Colby and Usman holding up title challengers. If they are at all active, then I fully expect Khamzat to get his shot and run through all of them.
#15 Khamzat Chimaev vs Gerald Meerschaertpic.twitter.com/lrBAwNrchU
— Cerebral Vigilante (@Delisketo) December 27, 2020