As 2017 rolls on, the UFC is looking more and more like one of the top organizations in all of sports. With a superstar in Conor McGregor and a consistently growing pool of top-notch fighters, the UFC has dominated the fighting landscape.
In 2016, many fighters won and lost titles. Many fell from glory while others rose to the top. This year, who will be the fighters that rise and fall?
On the rise:
There has not been a more explosive fighter in the past two years than Max. He has done everything the UFC has asked of him. He has beaten many top ranked fighters in the Featherweight division and will now got his shot for the title. Jose Aldo was impressive against Frankie Edgar, but I think Max will be bringing an entirely different arsenal. I think he wins the belt and calls out McGregor for a rematch.
After finally reaching the pinnacle, Rockhold fell right back down. His victory over Chris Weidman to win the Middleweight belt was extremely impressive. He showed toughness and an ability to capitalize on any mistake. Then, whether it was over-confidence or just lack of focus, he got knocked out by the current champion, Michael Bisping.
This reminds us of the fact that in a fight anything can happen. A career can rise quickly and then fall just as fast. Now, Rockhold will have to regain what he lost. With his next fight most likely being the winner of Yoel Romero and Michael Bisping, I anticipate Rockhold bringing the belt back to Cali.
Ready to fall:
Bisping had an unbelievable 2016. It all began with a dramatic victory over Anderson Silva in which he was knocked out by Silva and appeared to have lost the fight. However, the knock out ended up being after the round had already ended and Bisping went on to win by decision.
Then, as a huge underdog, Bisping was able to knock out Luke Rockhold for the Middleweight championship. Finally, to conclude 2016, Bisping went on to win a decision over Dan Henderson in his last fight ever.
As great as 2016 was for Bisping, I expect 2017 will be the opposite. I see him either losing to Yoel Romero or Luke Rockhold and by year end contemplating retirement. After all, it would still be a hall of fame career.
Was there a more impressive victory this year than Cody’s decision win over Dominick Cruz? I certainly don’t think so. The kid has continued to defy the odds and is now a UFC champion. But, I don’t think he’ll be able to hold on to it. In what has become a pretty top heavy division, I can see him losing to either of the top contenders (Cruz in a rematch or TJ Dillashaw). I hope I’m wrong.
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