Every upcoming UFC title challenger in each weight division

Published on 26 May 2024 at 20:45

This year has seen title changes at UFC 297 and UFC 298, but since then, no world title has changed hands as many questions are asked as to who will be the next title contender to face the champion in their respective weight classes. Here is each fighter, in a different weight division, that will most likely be next to fight for undisputed gold.

Women's Strawweight - tatiana suarez

Suarez is currently the #1 Strawweight contender and has proven to earn her place at the top of the division. TSP is undefeated with 11 wins with two coming by KO/TKO and six by submission.

The Californian's last fight came at UFC Nashville as she defeated the former UFC Strawweight Champion, Jessica Andrade, by second-round submission. Suarez would also earn a second-round submission victory at UFC Vegas 70, which would make it her first win since June 2019 after having a four-year absence due to health issues.

The Ultimate Fighter Season 23 winner is an incredible wrestler and could cause problems for the current champion, Zhang Weili, on the grappling side of the fight as she will look to keep her unbeaten MMA record.

Women's Flyweight - Manon Fiorot

Fiorot stands in the Flyweight rankings as the #2 contender and has looked unbeatable, ever since she entered the UFC. Half of The Beast's wins have come by KO/TKO as she prefers to keep the fight standing up.

The French Flyweight last fought at UFC Atlantic City where she defeated Erin Blanchfield by unanimous decision after five rounds of a striking masterclass. This fight would basically be a title opportunity as the winner will face either Alexa Grasso or Valentina Shevchenko. The UFC Flyweight Champion and the #1 contender are most likely set to fight after they have coached for The Ultimate Fighter Season 32.

The Nice-born fighter has been unbeaten since her MMA debut as she will be a big problem for the champion of the division when keeping the fight on the feet.

women's Bantamweight - kayla harrison

Harrison is positioned at #4 of the Bantamweight rankings after only having one fight in the UFC. Out of 17 triumphs in her MMA career, the American has defeated six of her opponents by KO/TKO and seven by submission.

The former PFL fighter made her debut in the organisation at UFC 300 as he faced the former UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion, Holly Holm, winning by second-round submission. Harrison has only lost one fight in her career and made it pretty clear in the post-fight interview that she should be the next woman in line for the belt.

The Olympic Gold Medallist showed dominance in her last fight and may show more if she does step up against the current Bantamweight Queen, Raquel Pennington, as many fight fans believe it won't be long until Harrison takes the throne.

flyweight - muhammad mokaev 

Mokaev is currently the #6 Flyweight contender and is undefeated in his MMA career. The Punisher has only had six fights in the UFC and has won four of those bouts by submission.

The 23-year-old last fought at UFC Vegas 87, earning a unanimous decision win over Alex Perez to make it 12 wins on his MMA record. Mokaev is set to face Manel Kape at UFC 304 as the winner of that fight will most likely face the UFC Flyweight Champion, Alexandre Pantoja.

The Russian-born mixed martial artist loves to grapple and wrestle which is what will make it such an interesting contest, battling on the ground with Pantoja as the champion does like to grapple.

bantamweight - merab dvalishvili

Dvalishvili is sitting in the Bantamweight rankings as the #1 contender and is currently tied first for the longest win streak in UFC Bantamweight history. The Machine rarely finishes his opponents as he has only defeated three by KO/TKO and one by submission, only earning one stoppage win in the UFC.

The Georgian last fought at UFC 298 as he faced the former UFC Flyweight and Bantamweight Champion, Henry Cejudo, beating him convincingly by unanimous decision. Unbeaten in 10 bouts, Dvalishvili has earned his right for a title shot after winning in dominant fashion in most of his fights, getting notable wins over Marlon Moraes, Jose Aldo and Petr Yan.

The Tbilisi-born fighter loves to wrestle in the Octagon which could cause problems for the current champion, Sean O'Malley, who likes to keep the fight standing up as both men do have excellent stamina.

Featherweight - alexander volkanovski

Volkanovski is the #1 contender of the Featherweight division and does not have a championship status for the first time since December 2019. The Great has stopped many opponents by KO/TKO as he currently holds 13 knockout wins in his career.

The Australian suffered his second-consecutive knockout loss in his last fight when he felt the wrath of Ilia Topuria's power to lose the UFC Featherweight Championship. Volkanovski was the King of the Featherweights since UFC 245, earning six title wins with the belt as he became one of the best to do it in the division.

With the amount of title defences he made, it is only right that Wollongong-born fighter deserves a rematch for the Featherweight title as he looks to perform better next time and avoid being knocked out once again by Topuria.

lightweight - arman tsarukyan

Tsarukyan sits below the champion as the #1 contender in the Lightweight rankings after his recent triumph. Ahalkalakets can stop a fight in any way as he has defeated nine opponents by KO/TKO and five by submission.

The Armenian recently fought at UFC 300 where he just did enough to get a split decision victory over the former UFC Lightweight Champion, Charles Oliveira. Tsarukyan will most likely face the winner of Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier as both of those men fight for the Lightweight title at UFC 302.

The Georgia-born fighter has faced Makhachev before and lost by unanimous decision, but he could get some revenge on his side now that he has added a few knockout victories to his name.

welterweight - shavkat rakhmonov

Rakhmonov is the current #3 Welterweight contender and is undefeated in his MMA career. Nomad has stopped every opponent he has faced, defeating eight of his enemies by KO/TKO and 10 by submission.

The Kazakh mixed martial artist last fought at UFC 296 as he became the first man to defeat Stephen Thompson by submission, stopping him in the second round. Rakhmonov has only had six fights in the UFC, but he has won his bouts very convincingly as he awaits the winner of Leon Edwards vs Belal Muhammad at UFC 304 to see who he will be facing for his title fight.

The Shurchi-born fighter is both magnificent at striking and grappling as many believe he will be a future champion in the UFC, but questions will be asked if he can keep his 100% finish rate against the Welterweight Champion.

Middleweight - sean strickland 

Strickland is sat at #1 in the Middleweight rankings after his title loss early on in the year. The Californian has rarely earned many stoppage wins in the UFC, but he does have 11 KO/TKO victories to his name as well as four submissions.

The former UFC Middleweight Champion lost his belt at UFC 297 after he suffered a split decision loss to Dricus Du Plessis in what was a very close fight. Strickland is set to face Paulo Costa at UFC 302 as he looks to get some redemption back, plus, return in title contention after a close battle against the South African.

The Anaheim-born fighter has proven to have good striking and takedown defence as he looks to get his revenge on the current Middleweight Champion, once he is successful in the co-main event of UFC 302.

Light heavyweight - magomed ankalaev

Ankalaev is at the highest point in his career as he stands at the #2 ranking in the Light Heavyweight division. The Russian has clearly shown he is a knockout artist, defeating 11 of his 18 conquered opponents by KO/TKO.

The Makhachkala-born fighter fought in the first event of 2024 at UFC Vegas 84 where he would earn a second-round knockout win over Johnny Walker. Ankalaev is unbeaten in his last 12 fights with one of them ending in a no contest and the other being a split draw when failed to capture the vacant Light Heavyweight title at UFC 282.

The current UFC Middleweight Champion, Alex Pereira, has shown to be a knockout threat as Ankalaev will put that to the test when he comes face-to-face with the Brazilian at some point during the year.

heavyweight - tom aspinall

Aspinall is not only the #1 contender but the Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion. The Salford-born fighter holds a 100% finish rate as out of 14 MMA fights, he has defeated 10 of his opponents by KO/TKO and four by submission.

The Interim title holder won UFC gold in his last fight in Madison Square Garden, defeating Sergei Pavlovich by first-round knockout at UFC 295 on 17 days' notice. Aspinall has been eager to fight the undisputed Heavyweight Champion, Jon Jones, but it has not happened as Jones wants to fight Stipe Miocic before making a decision on his next move in his MMA career.

The Manchester mixed martial artist has stopped 13 of his opponents in the first round as he looks to be Jones' toughest test yet, with many fighting fans being desperate to see this Heavyweight battle.


Written by Charlie Oxtoby


Instagram: charlie_oxtoby

MMA Instagram: undisputed._.mma

Twitter: Charlie_Oxtoby1

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