Very few fighters actually enter the cfu with another goal than to earn the distinction of being world champion. Over the years, we’ve seen various prospects achieve this goal, but we’ve also seen a group of fighters ultimately fail in their quest to become a UFC title holder.
Although he is sometimes crowned future UFC champion, nothing is guaranteed. There are currently fighters in the promotion who should hold gold one day, but they won’t. However, that’s not to say that every competitor with high expectations will disappoint. Let’s peek into a crystal ball to see who will be UFC champions in the future and who won’t.
ten Will not win: Michael Chandler
Michael Chandler noted when he signed to the UFC that he hadn’t been there long, he had been there for quite a while. So far he has had a great time and also came close to becoming world champion. He was seconds away from defeating Charles Oliveira at UFC 262 to become lightweight champion, but unfortunately that’s the closest he’ll ever get.
Chandler has his place right now as one of the most entertaining fighters in the game. However, as he nears his late thirties and with losses to the top two guys in the division, he will likely never hold UFC gold.
9 Will win: Islam Makhachev
Islam Makhachev is likely one fight away from challenging for the UFC lightweight throne. Currently on a ten-fight winning streak, the Russian is not only at his peak, he seems to be improving with every fight.
At just 30 and only getting better, Makhachev is pretty much guaranteed to get his hands on the gold. Even if he loses that fight, he’s way too good to never hold a UFC title in his career.
8 Will not win: Maycee Barber
Maycee Barber is only 23 years old and is already one of the best female flyweights on the planet. While her initial winning streak saw her jump into title contention, losses to Alexa Grasso and Roxanne Modafferi saw her fall back in the standings. However, she has been back in the winners column lately.
Although her age and her punching power lead some to think that she will be the UFC champion as she proclaims, that is going to be a tough question. With a division as lightweight as women’s flyweight, she’ll likely fight for the belt, but there’s no way she’ll beat Valentina Shevchenko.
7 Will win: Erin Blanchfield
A female flyweight who will win gold one day is 22-year-old Erin Blanchfield. Unlike Barber, ‘Cold Blooded’ hasn’t been shy about challenging for the title anytime soon. Instead, she progresses slowly and hones her skills over time.
This is a strategy that will help him greatly in the future. Blanchfield is coming off two lopsided wins in his first two appearances and looks to be only getting better. Look for the New York native to hold a UFC title before her time is up.
6 Will not win: Tai Tuivasa
Tai Tuivasa’s career turnaround from being almost cut to being a top three ranked heavyweight is an incredible story. However, it’s likely to peak here, which isn’t bad. But there are serious limits to his skills.
Tuivasa’s wild brawling style and hope that he doesn’t get knocked out is entertaining. However, with a limited skill set in wrestling and the fact that there are only so many wars you can take, he won’t hold UFC gold.
5 Will win: Magomed Ankalaev
Magomed Ankalaev’s current run might be the UFC’s most low-key storyline. The Russian currently sits at 17-1, with a solid eight-fight winning streak with victories over names such as Thiago Santos and Volkan Oezdemir.
The light and heavyweights are in a weird place right now. However, with Ankalev’s technical striking and proficient ground game, he will one day be a UFC champion. It will also happen sooner rather than later.
4 Will not win: Vicente Luque
Vicente Luque is one of the most entertaining fighters on the entire UFC roster. His rise from just a brawler to a top-five title contender is also a great story in its own right. However, his recent loss to Belal Muhammad shows he has clear limits at the top level.
Luque has good jiu-jitsu, great striking and a lot of power. However, his wrestling is notably his weak point, and it showed in his last appearance. At 30, it’s likely he won’t be able to improve to hang on to the wrestling game with the top names at 170 pounds.
3 Will win: Arman Tsarukyan
Arman Tsarukyan made a name for himself in 2019 by running on short notice against the aforementioned Islam Makhachev and taking him to the brink. To date, it’s still the Russian’s most competitive fight in recent years.
At just 25 years old, Tsarukyan showed that Makhachev’s fight was no aberration. It topped all the completions it faced and also shows massive improvements. With his struggle and rapid improvement, expect Tsarukyan to be champion before he hangs up the gauntlet.
2 Will not win: Darren Till
Darren Till was one of the top-rated prospects during his run for a title shot in 2018. Although he fell short that night against Tyron Woodley, he also showed he had the potential to to be one of the top middleweight contenders.
However, he will never hold the gold. Despite being one of the friendliest fighters in the game, his inconsistency makes it difficult for him to maintain a winning streak, let alone win a title.
1 Will win: Khamzat Chimaev
While his best friend Darren Till will not become champion, Khamzat Chimaev will eventually be champion. The Chechen is still only 27 and has shown he’s all for wrestling, striking and even working on the mic.
While some pundits thought Chimaev could have been “exposed” in his fight with Gilbert Burns, it’s a terrible take. He beat a top-two ranked welterweight in only his fifth UFC fight. If he does that, this early in his career, imagine where he will be at the end of it. Whatever the final destination, you can guarantee he’ll be a UFC champion at some point.
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