Q: Predict who will be the Middleweight Champion one year from now and play out how we get there.
NOTE: We sat on these answers on this topic from our team for a couple weeks at the wrong time, as a lot has changed since the answers were submitted. With that preamble, letting you know these answers were sent in before Michael Bisping vs. GSP was booked and, of course, before yesterday’s breaking news of Anderson Silva vs. Kelvin Gastelum, among other developments, here is a snapshot of where we thought the Middleweight Division would be a year from now. Robert’s answer is especially noteworthy for how it foresaw a few things that have already happened, perhaps in a slightly different form.
ROBERT VALLEJOS, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Something tells me that we will have two champions in the Middleweight Division. Michael Bisping will do everything in his power to avoid Yoel Romero, while also campaigning for a “moneyfight.” Bisping’s title dormancy will necessitate an Interim Title fight between Romero and Jacare Souza or Luke Rockhold. Eventually Bisping runs out the clock on his career and Romero is promoted as the undisputed champion.
COLE HENRY, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I believe that it will be vacant. For some reason, I get the feeling that if Michael Bisping doesn’t fight GSP next, it will be Anderson Siva. They will force Yoel Romero on Jacare, and expect us to like it. I think that regardless of who wins, out of Silva and Bisping, the winner will retire, therefore vacating the belt. I think that I remember reading that Bisping will fight sometime after May, so it’s possible that even in this scenario a new champion will be crowned. If Yoel and Jacare haven’t fought yet, then I expect that fight will be for the title and I think that Jacare comes away with it. Yoel Romero is a freak, but he’s also almost 40. This is just a random scenario, obviously. Take it for what it’s worth.
MICHAEL HISCOE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I will preface this by saying that I think Jacare Souza is the best middleweight in the world, but I don’t see him being the champion in a year’s time. So right now we have Michael Bisping as champion. There are two paths for him to take which could lead to different end results.
The first path involves Bisping defending his championship against Yoel Romero in the next few months in a fight that I would fully expect Romero to win. From there Romero would defend the title at least one time before the year is up and I would expect UFC to go with either a Bisping rematch or award a title match to Anderson Silva as the top potential draws of the current middleweights. Romero would win either fight and be champion a year from now.
The second path would involve Bisping defending against Georges St. Pierre later this year. That fight could go either way, but GSP has been out for so long and he would be giving up size to Bisping who is very fit and has been active in the past four years, so I give the edge to the current champ. Due to the timing of the GSP fight likely being in late 2017, that would mean Bisping would still be the champion in a year’s time.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
I think Yoel Romero beats UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping then fights, and loses, to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in his next fight. I think Romero finishes Bisping with some brutal ground-and-pound but loses a decision to Jacare after that. Nothing against Bisping; I just think Romero is primed to make his move and capture gold. At the same time, I also think Jacare will avenge his controversial loss to Romero and claim the title himself. I also have my fingers crossed that these fights actually happen and aren’t delayed because of injury or just bad business decisions.
NOTE: We’ll have another batch of responses on this topic tomorrow, following by updated views based on the Anderson Silva vs. Kelvin Gastelum news.
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