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Who Will Be UFC Champs at End of 2016?

The world of mixed martial arts is in constant flux. It's a world where you either grow or die. There are currently 10 weight classes in the UFC and seven of them had a different champion on January 1st, 2016 than January 1st, 2015.

With the boon of MMA over the past decade, a new class of all-around fighters are making their way into the UFC and that has created the most depth and parity in the company’s history. With more talent in the UFC today than ever before, a championship is never safe no matter whom the opponent is (isn’t that right Ronda).

With turnover becoming common place in the title scene, Sports Interaction has released prop odds on who the champion in each weight class will be at the end of 2016.

Here are the odds for every division in the UFC, with some analysis as to who may be wearing the gold entering 2017.

Heavyweight

When Fabricio Werdum dismantled Cain Velasquez at UFC 188 there was plenty of shocked faces around the world. Many pointed to Velasquez not being properly acclimated to the atmosphere in Mexico City, but these two will square off again at UFC 196.

Dana White has already said that Stipe Miocic is in line to fight the winner of that contest while Alistair Overeem is also in the conversation, but he is in the process of a contract negotiation.

With a title fight in February there is a chance this belt gets put on the line twice more in the 2016 calendar year. 

UFC Heavyweight Title Holder at the end of 2016

Odds as of January 8 at Sports Interaction

  • Cain Velasquez +125
  • Fabricio Werdum +170
  • Stipe Miocic +300
  • Alistair Overeem +800
  • Junior dos Santos +2000
  • Travis Browne +2800
  • Andrei Arlovski +4000
  • Josh Barnett +5000
  • Jon Jones +5000
  • Ben Rothwell +5000
  • Mark Hunt +5500
  • Fedor Emelianenko +6600
  • Frank Mir +7500
  • Roy Nelson +10000
  • Matt Mitrione +15000
  • Antonio Silva +15000
  • Jared Rosholt +15000
  • Stefan Struve +25000
  • Alexy Pliynyk +27500

Light Heavyweight

It's not if, but when Jon Jones gets the chance to regain the Light Heavyweight belt against Daniel Cormier. Hell, most assume it's a foregone conclusion that ‘Bones’ gets the belt back and continues dominating the division.

Ryan Bader and Anthony Johnson meet in January in a fight that is clearly a title eliminator.

Jones has averaged about two fights a year while Cormier has hovered around the three mark in his career. The biggest question about how many times this belt gets put on the line in 2016 is squarely based on when Jones and Cormier clash.

UFC Light Heavyweight Title Holder at the end of 2016

Odds as of January 8 at Sports Interaction

  • Jon Jones -200
  • Daniel Cormier +185
  • Alexander Gustafsson +800
  • Anthony Johnson +1100
  • Ryan Bader +2200
  • Glover Texeira +3300
  • Rashad Evans +7500
  • Ovince St. Preux +7500
  • Shogun Rua +9000
  • Gian Villante +10000
  • Rafael Cavalcante +10000
  • Jimi Manuwa +15000
  • Patrick Cummins +20000
  • Corey Anderson +20000
  • Nikita Krylov +20000
  • Rampage Jackson +22500
  • Fabio Maldonado +27500
  • Jan Blachowicz +27500

Middleweight

Since claiming the Middleweight title in December, Luke Rockhold has reportedly been going back-and-forth about who to face next. Does he offer an immediate rematch to Chris Weidman or does he give Yoel Romero a shot at the belt?

The UFC has officially scheduled events up until March of 2016. Rockhold would be off for nearly three months at that time, so this title could realistically be on the line twice in 2016.

UFC Middleweight Title Holder at the end of 2016

Odds as of January 8 at Sports Interaction

  • Luke Rockhold -155
  • Chris Weidman +275
  • Yoel Romero +550
  • Jacare Souza +1100
  • Anderson Silva +1800
  • Vitor Belfort +2000
  • Robert Whittaker +4000
  • Lyoto Machida +4000
  • Tim Kennedy +5000
  • Uriah Hall +7500
  • Michael Bisping +15000
  • Gegard Mousasi +15000
  • Thales Leites +20000
  • CB Dollaway +20000
  • Phil Brooks (CM Punk) +25000
  • Dan Henderson +275000

Welterweight

The Welterweight title picture is one of the muddiest in the UFC. Robbie Lawler has already faced Johny Hendricks twice, though a win over Stephen Thompson may put a third fight on tap. Lawler has also already beaten Rory MacDonald and Carlos Condit in his past two fights.

Many are calling for Demian Maia to get at least one more title fight in his illustrious career. Tyron Woodley was expected to be the next fighter in line, but many within the UFC have been critical of his performances in big fights.

UFC Welterweight Title Holder at the end of 2016

Odds as of January 8 at Sports Interaction

  • Robbie Lawler +170
  • Johny Hendricks +300
  • Carlos Condit +550
  • Rory MacDonald +600
  • Demian Maia +1200
  • Tyron Woodley +1300
  • George St. Pierre +2200
  • Stephen Thompson +2500
  • Matt Brown +2500
  • Benson Henderson +2500
  • Neil Magny +3000
  • Ben Askren +4000
  • Hector Lombard +4000
  • Kelvin Gastelum +5000
  • Dong Hyun Kim +5500
  • Thiago Alves +6000
  • Tarec Saffiedine +6000
  • Gunnar Nelson +6000
  • Jake Shields +9000
  • Rick Story +10000
  • Jake Ellenberger +20000

Lightweight

The Lightweight division may be the most intriguing in the UFC in the first half of 2016. Rafael dos Anjos has victories over Anthony Pettis, Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz. However, Featherweight champion Conor McGregor is expected to move up in weight and challenge RDA at UFC 197.

If UFC 197 happens in March, like expected, then it will be RDA’s second fight within six months. That means he likely would not defend the title again until the end of 2016, and maybe not until the start of 2017. A McGregor win would throw a monkey wrench into the division as he will likely need to cut weight to defend his featherweight title unless he gives it up.

UFC Lightweight Title Holder at the end of 2016

Odds as of January 8 at Sports Interaction

  • Rafael dos Anjos -110
  • Conor McGregor +250
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov +550
  • Anthony Pettis +700
  • Tony Ferguson +1200
  • Donald Cerrone +2000
  • Edson Barboza +3500
  • Eddie Alvarez +4500
  • Beneil Dariush +4500
  • Benson Henderson +5000
  • Nate Diaz +5000
  • Michael Johnson +5500
  • Michael Chiesa +10000
  • Dustin Poirier +10000
  • Myles Jury +10000
  • Bobby Green +10000
  • Al Iaquinta +15000

Featherweight

After knocking out Featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo in 13 seconds, McGregor looks like the dominant force in the division. However, if McGregor moves up to fight RDA like expected, he also holds the Featherweight title picture ransom.

If McGregor gets another title defense of this belt before the end of 2016, it will likely be against Frankie Edgar who has been promised the next crack at the belt. However, if Edgar decides he doesn’t want to just sit around, it seems like a fight against Max Holloway may determine the next challenger. 

UFC Featherweight Title Holder at the end of 2016

Odds as of January 8 at Sports Interaction

  • Conor McGregor -250
  • Frankie Edgar +200
  • Jose Aldo +350
  • Max Holloway +900
  • Chad Mendes +1600
  • Mirsad Bektic +1700
  • Renan Barao +1700
  • Charles Oliveira +2000
  • Ricardo Lamas +2200
  • Hacran Dias +3300
  • Dennis Bermudez +10000
  • Nik Lentz +20000
  • Jeremy Stephens +25000
  • Cub Swanson +27500
  • Clay Guida +27500

Bantamweight

This belt holds a lot of intrigue, as it is one of the first defended in 2016 when T.J. Dillashaw faces Dominick Cruz in January. If Dillashaw retains the belt, there is a natural storyline between him and Uriah Faber after the champ left Team Alpha Male.

Aljamain Sterling is an amazing prospect that is currently in negotiations on his next contract. Sterling wants a title shot, but he also wants to get paid like a top tier talent, which could cause some difficulties.

I’ll be honest; Thomas Almeida is one of my top three favorite fighters in the UFC at the moment. The 24-year old is 20-0 in his MMA career and has ended two of his four UFC fights within the first round, and seems on the precipice of a title shot.

UFC Bantamweight Title Holder at the end of 2016

Odds as of January 8 at Sports Interaction

  • T.J. Dillashaw +110
  • Dominick Cruz +175
  • Thomas Almeida +550
  • Aljamain Sterling +750
  • Uriah Faber +850
  • Raphael Assuncao +1200
  • John Dodson +2500
  • John Lineker +3300
  • Renan Barao +3500
  • Eddie Wineland +4000
  • Michael McDonald +5000
  • Frankie Saenz +5500
  • Iuri Alcantara +9000
  • Bryan Caraway +10000
  • Johnny Eduaro +27500
  • Takeya Mizugaky +27500

Flyweight

Demetrious Johnson has been the only Flyweight champion in the UFC’s history. He has now defended his belt in seven consecutive fights and has pretty much obliterated the division.

Henry Cejudo is the next in like for Mighty Mouse. With Johnson’s last fight this past September and Cejudo’s in November, this fight will likely happen in the first half of 2016 before UFC 200.

If Johnson wins, I have no clue as to who is next in line. If Cejudo wins, I imagine Johnson gets an immediate rematch considering his long dominance over the division.

UFC Flyweight Title Holder at the end of 2016

Odds as of January 8 at Sports Interaction

  • Demetrious Johnson -250
  • Henry Cedujo +500
  • Joseph Benavidez +800
  • John Dodson +1700
  • Kyoji Horiguchi +2200
  • Ray Borg +2200
  • Ali Bagautinov +2200
  • Jussier Formiga +3000
  • Ian McCall +3500
  • Louis Smolka +3500
  • Zach Makovsky +3500
  • Sergio Pettis +5000
  • Chris Cariaso +9000
  • Dustin Ortiz +15000
  • John Moraga +15000

Woman’s Bantamweight

Holly Holm did the unthinkable when she knocked off Ronda Rousey in convincing fashion at UFC 193. Though there was a lot of public debate about whether or not Rousey deserved an immediate title shot, it will be Miesha Tate that gets the first crack at Holm in 2016.

A Holm victory against Tate sets up Holm vs Rousey II, in what is sure to be one of the biggest drawing matches in UFC history. A Tate victory screws things up for the UFC as Tate has already dropped two fights to Rousey.

UFC Woman’s Bantamweight Title Holder at the end of 2016

Odds as of January 8 at Sports Interaction

  • Ronda Rousey -120
  • Holly Holm +100
  • Miesha Tate +1000
  • Cat Zigano +2000
  • Julianna Pena +3000
  • Liz Caemouche +7500
  • Valentina Schevchenko +10000
  • Jessica Eye +10000
  • Mario Reneau +10000
  • Sarah Kauffman +10000
  • Lauren Murphy +20000
  • Amanda Nunes +25000
  • Sara McMann +25000
  • Bethe Correia +25000
  • Jessica Andrade +25000
  • Germaine de Randamie +27500

Woman’s Strawweight

The brutal beatings Joanna Jedrzejczyk has given to her opponents has brought a lot of attention to the Woman’s Strawweight division. The Polish champion is expected to be one of the coaches in the next season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Claudia Gadelha, which will culminate in a title fight in 2016.

The division is wide open after Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha with most of the fighters being relatively inexperienced. Honestly, one notable victory could put most of the top six fighters into the title picture.

UFC Woman’s Strawweight Title Holder at the end of 2016

Odds as of January 8 at Sports Interaction

  • Joanna Jedrzejczyk -180
  • Claudia Gadelha +185
  • Rose Namajunas +500
  • Tecia Torres +750
  • Paige VanZant +2000
  • Carla Esparza +2200
  • Valerie Laterneau +2500
  • Michelle Waterson +3000
  • Jessica Penne +3500
  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz +4000
  • Joanne Calderwood +6000
  • Jessica Aguilar +6000
  • Maryna Moroz +9000
  • Randa Markos +9000
  • Felice Herring +27500
  • Aisling Daly +27500

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