(Photo courtesy Rizin)
In what was a crazy 2017, we would be hard press to predict a lot that happened.
We skipped last year in doing predictions, but are back to give our two cents on what could happen in 2018.
Cris “Cyborg” Justino will Make Her Pro Boxing Debut
With few contenders, it is hard to find what to do with Cris “Cyborg” Justino.
With an impending superfight with Amanda Nunes and several contenders raising their hands, Cyborg already expressed interested in making the crossover to boxing. With both Zuffa and Invicta looking to start boxing promotions, hard pressed not to see the most violent woman on the planet on top of the bill. The undefeated Cecilia Brækhus already sparked some interest in a match, and Claressa Shields name has been dropped several times.
Ronda Rousey will Sign to the WWE
Probably one of the easiest predictions to make as Rousey is already training for her in ring debut. We expect her to get the “Brock Lesnar” treatment in terms of her contract; a lot of money and limited time in the ring. Rumor is already going around Rousey will make her in-ring WWE debut at the women’s Royal Rumble in a few weeks.
The Flyweight Title will Change Hands More than Once
Nicco Montano defied the odds to become the UFC’s first ever flyweight champion. How long will that last though?
With top strawweight talent going up and bantamweights down, the champ has a huge target on her back, and her 4-2 record, hard not to see her lose the belt by year’s end.
The flyweight sweepstakes has some depth, with Dana White insisting Sijara Eubanks gets the next shot, and former bantamweight title challenger Valentina Shevchenko making her flyweight debut. Not to mention several other flyweight fights in the coming months.
It is hard to say if or when Shevchenko gets her shot.
The Flyweights will Surpass Strawweight as the Sport’s Most Popular Women’s Division
As previously mentioned, a lot of talent has is shifting from the strawweight and bantamweight divisions to flyweight. The division was not in the UFC until late 2017, and we saw shifting from flyweight to strawweight when their division was introduced in 2014.
Most female fighting sports see 125 pounds as the most populated division, and will help with them make more healthy weight cuts.
A World Lightweight Champion Will be Crowned
There has been cries for an 155 division for the past few years and now it seems there is a bit of organization thanks to a Japanese superstar and a top featherweight.
When King Reina and Cindy Dandois fought at Rizin, many athletes raised their hands to fight at lightweight. With the aforementioned Cyborg owning the 145 division, some of the bigger female athletes may get their chance to be called world champion – be it Invicta, Rizin, or another organization.
A Female Openweight Grand Prix will Happen
There has been teasing among the Far East promotions that they are wanting to do this. Both Rizin and RoadFC has openweight divisions, with Rizin in particular promoting one of the best known, Gabi Garcia. Several have thrown their hats in the ring including Katya Kavaleva, and Destanie Yarbrough.
With the option of bringing European and Asian talent, we could see enough to get a full bracket going.