What does every ex-champion in UFC history have in common? They've all experienced the sting of defeat that comes with losing their belt.
Barring something weird, like steroid suspensions or injury, all the current UFC champions will one day have to look over at Dana White, beaming from ear to ear, strapping their belt around the waist of their opponent.
I've been wondering lately, with all the controversy and delays in regards to the title pictures in almost every division, who's going to be the first and last of the current crop to lose their belt?
UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar
Chance of Losing His Belt in 2010: 70 Percent
Biggest Threat: Cain Velasquez
I honestly don't think Shane Carwin is the No. 1 contender to Brock's belt.
At one point, he and Cain Velasquez were neck and neck in the title race. Suddenly, Joe Silva had a change of heart. The hype machine kicked into high gear, and Carwin found himself with a title shot, while Cain had to go through Ben Rothwell (and now Antonio Nogueira).
I think Carwin has a "puncher's chance", and also the size to hang with Lesnar, but if Brock doesn't heal up, we may never see the fight. Meanwhile, I predict Velasquez steamrolls over Big Nog and then takes the belt from Brock his following fight.
UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida
Chance of Losing His Belt in 2010: 60 Percent
Biggest Threat: Mauricio Rua
I know it's old hat by this point, but in my eyes, Shogun already beat Machida. But before we get into that again, let's look towards the future.
This fight has been signed as an immediate re-match, but it's become much less immediate due to Lyoto's hand surgery. The re-match is really a toss-up, but if anyone's going to beat Machida for the belt, it's Shogun. Machida already took out Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans, and Thiago Silva. It's Shogun or bust.
UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva
Chance of Losing His Belt in 2010: 15 Percent
Biggest Threat: Dan Henderson
I'm so sick of what Joe Silva is doing with this division. Everything middleweight seems so thrown-together and indecisive.
I'm assuming Vitor Belfort is getting the next title shot. However, one win over an aging fighter at 195 lbs. isn't enough to convince me. Andy's already taken out Nate Marquardt and Dan Henderson.
Henderson's a wrecking machine when he's not facing the very best in the world. The problem with that? Anderson Silva is the very best in the world at middleweight. I don't see it happening.
UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre
Chance of Losing His Belt in 2010: 0 Percent
Biggest Threat: His Own Mind
GSP is unstoppable at this weight. I don't know if he's just that much better than everyone else, or no other welterweight is trying, but he's not dropping the belt. If Thiago Alves didn't do it, no one's going to. Alves was the biggest threat of the past year, and he was toyed with.
Barring another mental lapse, St. Pierre will go untouched in 2010. The outcome of Dan Hardy and Mike Swick today is completely irrelevant to me. And it's probably pretty irrelevant to St. Pierre, as well.
UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn
Chance of Losing His Belt in 2010: 50 Percent
Biggest Threat: A dark horse
Really, Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, Diego Sanchez, Joe Stevenson, Clay Guida, and Kenny Florian are all tremendous fighters, and they make up the most exciting division in all of MMA.
Penn is on another level than all these guys, and after taking a few out next year (starting with Diego Sanchez), Penn may be caught by surprise by a loss to someone like Nate Diaz, or even a debuting Urijah Faber. It's going to be someone we don't expect.
In conclusion, St. Pierre and his belt are going to be buddies for a long time. Lensar may not want to get too attached.
-Justin "The Juice" Orel