Current UFC Champions & #1 Contenders

  • The current UFC champions all have varying levels of belt security.
  • When are they next scheduled to fight; who is their no. 1 challenger?
  • What are the odds the champs survive their next title defense?

Below, find the current champions and #1 contenders in every UFC weight class, from flyweight to heavyweight and all three women’s divisions.

Our MMA experts have looked at the situation in each division and assessed the matchups, some of which are hypothetical, and some of which are already scheduled.

Editor’s note: Last updated on Feb. 20, 2019. If you’re wondering why we chose Jon Jones for the featured image, above, it’s because he has the best odds to stay champion and we don’t want to have to change the picture.

Flyweight

Henry Cejudo vs Joseph Benavidez

14-2 (6 KO) Record 27-5 (7 KO, 9 SUB)
32 Age 34
Aug. 4, 2018 Champion since N/A
1 Title defenses N/A
TKO vs TJ Dillashaw (Jan 19, 2019) Last fight UD vs Dustin Ortiz (Jan 19, 2019)
TBD Next scheduled fight TBD
3/4 H2H odds to win 4/3

Cejudo has become the class of this division, recently demolishing the considerably bigger TJ Dillashaw in just 32 seconds. He’s developed a strong stand-up game to go with his Olympic-level wrestling. He is likely to reign as long as the flyweight division exists, which, unfortunately for “The Messenger,” may not be very long.

If there is one man who is going to wrest the belt from the Messenger, it’s the equally indefatigable Joseph Benavidez, who is, not so coincidentally, the last man to hand Cejudo a loss (Dec. 2016). But Cejudo has grown as a fighter since they met in the TUF 24 finale. His hands are considerably better than they used to be, and Benavidez was only able to eke out a razor-thin split decision on the strength of his striking.

The champ will be a modest favorite to avenge his last defeat when and if the UFC makes one last flyweight title bout.

Bantamweight

TJ Dillashaw vs Marlon Moraes

16-4 (8 KO, 3 SUB) Record 22-5 (10 KO, 6 SUB)
33 Age 30
Nov. 4, 2018 Champion since N/A
1 Title defenses N/A
TKO vs Cody Garbrandt (Aug. 4, 2018) Last fight (at bantamweight) SUB vs Raphael Assuncao (Feb. 2, 2019)
TBD Next scheduled fight TBD
5/4 H2H odds to win 4/5

While his foray into the flyweight division ended in disaster, Dillashaw remains an elite fighter with a versatile skill set. There’s a good chance he enters his next fight as a favorite, whether it’s against Moraes or Cejudo moving up to 135, but our outlook is not as sunny for Dillashaw.

“Magic” Moraes has finished his last three fights in the first round. According to FightMetric, he’s only been on the receiving end of five strikes over that span. Dillashaw is never one to shy away from exchanges, and Moraes has proven recently that his hands are not to be taken lightly. Of course, neither is his ground game.

Our prediction is that Dillashaw loses his bantamweight strap to Moraes in his next fight.

Featherweight

Max Holloway vs Jose Aldo

20-3 (10 KO, 2 SUB) Record 28-4 (17 KO, 1 SUB)
27 Age 32
Dec. 10, 2016 Champion since N/A
3 Title defenses N/A
TKO vs Brian Ortega (Dec. 8, 2018) Last fight TKO vs Renato Moicano (Feb. 2, 2019)
TBD Next scheduled fight TBD
3/5 H2H odds to win 5/3

Holloway has pretty much cleared out the 145-pound division. Aldo and Brian Ortega are the 2nd and 3rd-ranked fighters, and he’s 3-0 against them combined. He hasn’t lost since falling to Conor McGregor back in 2013, riding a 13-fight win streak.

A rematch with McGregor could be his next bout, but it’s unclear whether that would be at featherweight. Dana White has said he’d like Holloway to move up to 155. Cutting to 145 has always been tough for the Hawaiian.

If he stays at 145, a third fight with a resurgent Jose Aldo would be thrilling, if not ripe for an upset. Holloway largely dominated the first two, outstriking Aldo by a combined 278-142 margin over the better part of six rounds. A similar script is likely to play out in a third fight because, as fun as Aldo’s comeback story has been, he’s still five years older than Holloway and hasn’t scored a takedown in any of his last seven fights.

Lightweight

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson

27-0 Record 24-3 (11 KO, 8 SUB)
30 Age 35
Apr. 7, 2018 Champion since N/A
1 Title defenses N/A
SUB. vs Conor McGregor (Oct. 6, 2018) Last fight TKO vs Anthony Pettis (Oct. 6, 2018)
TBD Next scheduled fight TBD
3/1 H2H odds to win 1/3

Khabib is suspended for nine months, backdated to Oct. 6, 2018, when you know what happened. He is only going to fight once in 2019, at the most. That bout is likely to be against Tony Ferguson, who should give the Eagle a considerably tougher fight than McGregor did.

“El Cucuy” has won 11 straight dating back to May 2012, and he’s finished eight of those. At age 35, he’s somehow better than he’s ever been. He’s extremely good on the ground and is a better pure striker than Khabib. He’s been able to use his versatility to great effect over the years, winning in a variety of ways and proving extremely hard to prepare for.

Unfortunately for the Californian, his takedown defense is not the strongest, and Khabib is the best grappler the lightweight division (perhaps the sport of MMA) has ever seen. If and when these two tangle, the undefeated champ is going to exert his will in the clinch, and that will prove the difference.

Welterweight

 Tyron Woodley vs Kamaru Usman

19-3-1 Record 14-1 (6 KO, 1 SUB)
36 Age 31
Jul. 30, 2016 Champion since N/A
4 Title defenses N/A
SUB. vs Darren Till (Sep. 8, 2018) Last fight UD vs Rafael dos Anjos (Nov. 30, 2019)
UFC 235 (Mar. 2, 2019) Next scheduled fight UFC 235 (Mar. 2, 2019)
1/2 H2H odds to win 2/1

Woodley returned from a year-plus layoff with a hugely impressive win over Darren Till in September. That win had the effect of stripping Colby Covington of the Interim Welterweight Title. (Covington was unable to fight due to nasal surgery.) Now Covington has been passed over and Kamaru Usman will get the next shot at Woodley in March at UFC 235.

Woodley is currently a -190 favorite against Usman and this looks like a good matchup for the champ. Usman has looked his best when he is the better wrestler in the cage. That won’t be the case against Woodley, a two-time All-American at Missouri. The challenger doesn’t have the stand-up to compensate for his disadvantage on the mat.

The -190 odds for Woodley at various sportsbooks underestimate his chances, in our view. We make him at least -200 to keep his belt at UFC 235.

Middleweight

Robert Whittaker vs Israel Adesanya

 20-4 (9 KO, 5 SUB) Record 16-0 (13 KO)
28 Age 29
Jul. 8, 2017 Champion since N/A
1 Title defenses N/A
Split decision vs Yoel Romero (Jun. 9, 2018) Last fight UD vs Anderson Silva (Feb. 10, 2019)
TBD Next scheduled fight UFC 236 (Apr. 13) vs Kelvin Gastelum
3/2 H2H odds to win 2/3

Whittaker had to pull out of his title defense against Gastelum at UFC 234 due to a collapsed bowel. If that sounds horrendous to you, you’re not wrong. It’s a serious ailment which will keep the middleweight champion out of action until at least the summer. Now Gastelum will face Adesanya for the interim belt, with the winner presumably meeting Whittaker when the champ is recovered.

We’re penciling Adesanya in as the winner because (a) the younger, stronger Nigerian is a -240 favorites, and (b) it would be way more exciting to see Whittaker vs Adesanya than Whittaker vs Gastelum.

Undefeated since 2014 (nine straight wins), Whittaker is a solid all-around fighter, but not indomitable at 185. He nearly lost to Yoel Romero last time out and, in reality, has benefited from a weak division.

Adesanya may be about to change all of that. The undefeated (16-0) Nigerian is one of the most dangerous and accomplished strikers in the sport and, at 6’4, would present all sorts of issues for Whittaker. He has become, as he always dreamed, the new Anderson Silva; and, like Silva in his prime, he may prove strangely unbeatable.

This is another belt we see changing hands before the year is out. All hail the future champ: Israel Adesanya.

Light Heavyweight

Jon Jones vs Anthony Smith

23-1-1 (10 KO, 6 SUB) Record 31-13 (17 KO, 11 SUB)
31 Age 30
Dec. 29, 2018 (or Mar. 19, 2011, depending on how you look at it) Champion since N/A
1 (or 10) Title defenses N/A
TKO vs Alexander Gustafsson (Dec. 29, 2018) Last fight SUB. vs Volkan Oezdemir (Oct. 27, 2018)
UFC 235 (Mar. 2, 2019) Next scheduled fight UFC 235 (Mar. 2, 2019)
1/5 H2H odds to win 5/1

Jones is the biggest lock to remain champion at his current weight class. There is no one at 205 who can hold a candle to Bones. He’s never actually lost a fight in the Octagon, only succumbing to disqualification, PEDs, and his own out-of-ring behaviour.

Jones may be the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in history and he’s a -1400 favorite to beat Anthony Smith at UFC 235.

Think of it this way: Daniel Cormier is unquestionably the second-best light heavyweight in the world; he was unbeatable when Jones was away from the sport. But Jones has already dominated him twice and, when Jones returned, Cormier fled the division rather than fight him a third time.

Heavyweight

Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic

22-1-1 (10 KO, 5 SUB) Record 18-3 (14 KO)
 39 Age 36
Jul. 7, 2018 Champion since N/A
1 Title defenses N/A
Submission vs Derrick Lewis (Nov. 3, 2018) Last fight KO loss to Cormier (Jul. 7, 2018)
Record Next scheduled fight TBD
6/5 H2H odds to win 5/6

Cormier is not going to be the heavyweight champion for long, but that’s not necessarily because he’s going to lose in the Octagon. It’s because he’s announced his plans to retire this year.

DC was originally going to retire in March when he turned 40, but he wants to fight at least once more and that’s not happening before March 20th due to injury, so he’s pushed back his retirement date.

Here’s hoping we get a rematch with Miocic before he does hang up his gloves for good. Cormier finished the longtime heavyweight champ in less than a round when they met in July. Miocic, who holds the record for the longest heavyweight title reign of all time, deserves a shot to get his belt back.

If he does get that chance, expect a much longer fight. Cormier surprised Miocic with his effectiveness in the clinch, landing a huge right which marked the beginning of the end. Miocic will do all he can to keep Cormier at a distance the second time around, and at 6’4 to Cormier’s 5’11, should be able to do so.

Miocic takes his strap back by decision if he gets another chance at Cormier before he retires.

Women’s Strawweight

Rose Namajunas vs Jessica Andrade

8-3 (1 KO, 5 SUB) Record 19-6 (6 KO, 7 SUB)
26 Age 27
Nov. 4, 2017 Champion since N/A
 1 Title defenses N/A
UD vs Joanna Jędrzejczyk (Apr. 7, 2018) Last fight KO vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz (Sep. 8, 2018)
UFC 237 (May 11, 2019) Next scheduled fight UFC 237 (May 11, 2019)
2/1 H2H odds to win 1/2

Rose Namajunas shocked the world by beating Joanna Jędrzejczyk the first time around, and then took a controversial decision in the rematch. Jessica Andrade is already a -160 favorite for their May 11th fight, and that’s generous to Thug Rose.

The Brazilian challenger is supremely strong, has great takedowns, and has gotten the better of the stand-up in all but two of her fights. She is going to dictate where this fight takes place, and if she doesn’t like how things are going on the feet, she won’t hesitate to put the champ on her back.

The winner #AndNew strawweight champion is … Jessica Andrade.

Women’s Flyweight

Valentina Shevchenko vs Jessica Eye

16-3 (4 KO, 7 SUB) Record 14-6-1 (3 KO, 1 SUB)
 30 Age 32
Dec. 8, 2018 Champion since N/A
0 Number of title defenses N/A
UD vs Joanna Jędrzejczyk (Dec. 8, 2018) Last fight SD vs Katlyn Chookagian (Dec. 8, 2018)
TBD Next scheduled fight TBD
3/4 Odds to Win H2H 4/3

Women’s Bantamweight

Amanda Nunes vs Holly Holm

17-4 Record 33-2-3
30 Age 37
Dec. 29, 2018 Champion since N/A
0 Title defenses N/A
KO vs Kris Cyborg (Dec. 29, 2019) Last fight UD vs Megan Anderson (Jun. 9, 2018)
Next scheduled fight TBD
1/2 Odds to Win H2H 2/1

Put us down as Nunes believers. She dismantled Cris Cyborg at UFC 232, running her win streak to eight straight. She hasn’t tasted defeat since 2014 and has wins over a who’s-who of great fighters on her resume, including Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey, and Valentina Shevchenko (twice) in addition to Cyborg.

Holly Holm is always game, but won’t have a decided edge in the stand-up department, which is what she needs to win fights. The accomplished boxer will be subdued by Nunes’ power.

AlexanderP

Alexander is the MTS editor-in-chief. Frank, Alex, and Geoff brought him in when they realized that their betting expertise far surpassed their grammatical abilities. He loves overanalyzing college basketball trends. Talking to him during the first weekend of March Madness is like talking to a wall. A very focused wall, but a wall nonetheless.