State of the UFC Divisions


By Cooper Woodward, Chief Managerial Editor

As of writing this (11/16/22), there have been seven changes in titleholders across all of the UFC Divisions. And there is 1 more title fight currently scheduled for the last month of the year. Crazy upsets and the continuation of long reigns alike, 2022 has been a crazy year for the UFC. Now without further ado, let’s give an update on the potential challengers, and roads ahead for the current champions of all the UFC Divisions. 

Flyweight (125lbs): Deiveson “Deus Da Gurrera” Figueredo (21-2-1). Date won: January 22nd, 2022 (UFC 270) Via Decision.

Pound for pound, Figueredo ranks toward the bottom of the list of champions, but by all means, deserves the title. Having just recently won it, There are a lot of options that Figueredo has at his disposal for future title defenses. The first (and in my opinion most obvious) is for him to become the undisputed champ, and fight the current interim champion, Brandon Moreno. Then (Pending a win) his options open up. The next ranked contender after Moreno is Alexandre Pantoja who has a record of 25-5. If Figueredo wants to prove himself as the undisputed and best Flyweight on planet earth, I believe this is the best way to go.

Bantamweight (135lbs): Aljamain “Funk Master” Sterling (22-3). Date won: March 6th, 2021 (UFC 259) Via disqualification

Sterling is an interesting name on the list because unlike some of the other guys I’m going to mention, he didn’t rise through the division and take the title with little resistance. Sterling’s route was much different. Sterling initially won the title Via an Illegal Knee thrown by Petr Yan (the previous holder) while sterling was on the ground. Then in his first title defense, won via razor-thin margins in a split decision win at UFC 273. After finishing T.J Dillishaw via TKO at UFC 280 on October 22nd, and with Sean O’Malley’s upset win over Petr Yan, 135lbs suddenly becomes a lot more interesting. Aljamain’s next fight is yet to be announced. My prediction: Sean O’Malley

Featherweight (145lbs): Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski (25-1). Date won: December 14th, 2019 (UFC 245) Via Decision

The pound-for-pound best fighter on planet earth is Mr. Alexander Volkanovski. Volkanovski debut in 2016 with a KO of Yusuke Kasuya. He then proceeded to go undefeated on his way to the title, dethroning Max Holloway Via decision and adding 4 title defenses to his belt including a 3 fight sweep in the trilogy vs Max Holloway. Following him being a backup for the UFC 280 main event, color commentator and UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier, called Volkanovski into the ring were the verbal agreement on a superfight between Makhachev and Volkanovski. Weeks later, it was confirmed to be the main event of UFC 284 in Perth Australia. 

Lightweight (155lbs): Islam Makhachev (23-1) Date won: October 22nd, 2022 (UFC 280)

The new lightweight title holder has had a long and difficult rise to lightweight gold. With 12 fights under his belt, he’s one of the late bloomers when it came to the division. Coached by former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, the grappling artist is on a 11 fight win streak, looking to extend it to 12 while denying Alexander Volkanovski a double champ opportunity. If Islam were to win that fight, he has the entire top 10 to fight given he has only fought 1 guy in the top 10 of the division. Similar to recent past champions, going through guys like Dustin Porier, Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler, and Beniel Dariush become necessities in order to be considered a lightweight great.

Welterweight (170lbs): Leon “Rocky” Edwards (20-3) Date won: August 20th, 2022 (UFC 278) via TKO

In one of the more exciting events in recent memory, Edwards took the belt away from one of the 2nd longest-reigning welterweight champions in the history of the division Kamaru Usman. The welterweight division is in an interesting place right now. Given that the Champion has just been de-throned it leaves the option of a potential trilogy for the title with Usman and Edwards, or with any higher-ranked contender. For Usman, the only logical fight is for him to go for the trilogy with Edwards, given that he’s already fought a lot of the top-ranked contenders more than once and won more than once. Edwards has many different options. Given his resume isn’t as loaded as Usman, a potential option he can do is begin bolstering title defenses fighting guys like Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, or Gilbert Burns. Although I do believe the next fight we get is a trilogy with Usman and Edwards.

Middleweight (185lbs): Alex “Poatan” Pereira (7-1) Date won: November 12th 2022 (UFC 281) via TKO

Pereira had done the impossible, beat the 2nd longest reigning middleweight champion after already beating him twice in kickboxing. To fully grasp the story of the rivalry, we have to go back to 2016 were the rivalry began. In a tightly contested match, Pereira won the bout via decision. The following year, the KO heard around the world occurred. With one fell swoop of a left hook, Izzy was KO’d for the first time in his career. Fast forward to November 12th, where Pereira faced Israel in a completely different sport in MMA. Going down 3-1  in all of the Judges Scorecards, cornerman Glover Teixeira said one of the most infamous quotes of all time “You have 5 minutes to be a world champion”. He ended up TKOing Adesanya winning the middleweight title belt. Now similar to Makhachev, the entire top 10 is open for him. My prediction on his next fight: Khazmat Chimaev.

Light Heavyweight (205lbs): Vacant. Previous Champion Jiri Prochaska vacated due to injury. 

Meer weeks before Jiri Prochaska and Glover Teixeira were set to have there highly anticipated rematch at UFC 282, it was reported on the 23rd, that Prochaska had suffered a shoulder injury that would keep him sidlined for over a year. And out of respect for the Division, he vacated the title belt. Having trained for Prochaska his entire training camp, Teixeira also decided to pull out of the bout. Meaning Jan Blachowicz (#2 ranked contender) and Magomed Ankalaev will be the new main event for the Undisputed Light Heavyweight championship. 

Heavyweight (265lbs):  Francis “The Predator” Ngannou (17-3-0) Date Won: March 27th, 2021 (UFC 260) Via TKO

The pound-for-pound best striker on the planet. Ngannou has made most of his UFC Stardom via the fact his full-force punch is more painful than a sledgehammer hitting your head being thrown from overhead. Also as hard being hit head-on by a Ford Escort going full speed. Wow. Francis has had a confusing rise to the top. you would think given his striking capabilities he would be p-f-p best fighter on the planet, but it turns out, you need to have other aspects of your game to be developed for your skills to be more refined. Given that Francis has had contract disputes in the past with president Dana White, The promotion was thinking of placing an interim champion’s belt while Francis gets the contract settled. That is not currently on the table. Jon Jones has been looking to make a comeback into the UFC and UFC President Dana White Recently came out and said Jon Jones will fight next year and hopefully will be against Ngannou. Nothing is confirmed as of yet, but definetly something to keep an eye out for.