A champion has to be at his very best in every fight if he wants to ensure that the belt stays around his wait. During the second half of 2011, we may be treated to seeing all seven UFC belts being defended.
Every champ is at a different place in their career: From Jon Jones making his very first defense against the grizzled Rampage Jackson to Anderson Silva defending his belt for the ninth time against a formidable Yushin Okami.
Lets take a look at which champs have the best chance of coughing up their belt, shall we?
Nothing against Frankie Edgar as he has proven he is a legitimate champion.
But Gray Maynard beat him in their first fight and nearly finished Edgar off in the rematch. It is hard to say who wins the trilogy and it will be interesting to see which fighter makes the better adjustments.
Chance of Champ losing his belt: As close to 50/50 as your going to get, right?
Again, no disrespect to Dominick Cruz.
He is 17-1, has looked great in this first three bantamweight title fights (winning it and defending twice) and is on an eight fight win streak not having lost in over four years since...his loss to Urijah Faber.
So the two will rematch and this time expect the fight to be a lot closer then the first which saw Faber submitting Cruz in the first round. Really hard to pick this fight as Cruz looks like he is on his way to having a special career while we don’t know for sure if Faber has peaked, or is still in his prime.
Chances of Champion losing his belt: There is a good chance Cruz could cough up his belt but let’s give the Champ a slight advantage and say there is a 45 percent chance of him losing it.
Junior Dos Santos is coming into this title fight with a ton of momentum behind him, while Cain Velasquez is coming off of a major shoulder injury and has been inactive since pummeling Brock Lesnar back at UFC 121.
Dana White seems to think dos Santos still has some work to do before he can truly hang with Velasquez, and if it weren’t for the uncertainty surrounding the shoulder, there might be a better chance of Cain retaining his belt.
Chances of Champion losing his belt: There is definite possibility of Velazquez relinquishing the gold, but stylistically, the champ should have the advantage. He will also have home field advantage being that the fight is in San Jose. Let’s say there is a 40 percent chance of him losing his belt.
Jose Aldo looked “Anderson Silva” unstoppable when he was tearing apart the competition in the WEC. In his first UFC fight, he took on a game Mark Hominick, and while he looked very good, he did show that he is not invincible.
In theory, Kenny Florian should be the toughest test of his career. Florian has quite an impressive resume, having fought a who’s who of elite competition from middleweight on down to featherweight. Stylistically, though, this may be a tough fight for Florian. He will need to be very efficient on his feat and get the fight to the ground as much as possible and do some damage with his menacing elbows.
Chances of Champion losing his belt: A young phenom vs. a proven veteran. Will the knees of Aldo prevail over the elbows of Florian? While you could make a case for KenFlo, you have to side with the dangerous Brazilian and say he only has a 35 percent chance of losing his belt at worst.
There has been a constant churn within the light heavyweight division ever since Rampage Jackson took the belt away from Chuck Liddell at UFC 67. Lyoto Machida was supposed to hold the belt for awhile, but Shogun ended those notions rather quickly only to get eviscerated by the young Jones.
Jones looks untouchable right now, but if we have learned anything in the last few years, it’s that no one is immune to losing. That said, it seems hard to picture an older, slower, less well rounded and lacking in motivation Rampage taking his belt back from Jones.
Chances of Champion losing his belt: Jones is still young. This is his first time to defend his belt, and if Rampage brings his A-game, then would it really be that shocking to see an upset? Let’s give Jones a 30 percent chance of giving the belt back to Rampage.
Anderson Silva is undefeated inside the Octagon in 13 fights and has successfully defended his belt eight times. Is Yushin Okami going to be the man to end all of that?
If he implements the "Chael Sonnen" game plan to perfection and can avoid getting submitted, then maybe. But it seems very unlikely that Okami will emerge from the rough streets of Rio with the bling around his belly.
Chances of Champion losing his belt: Let’s give Anderson Silva a 20 percent chance of losing his belt.
This may look like Diaz is being disrespected, but it's more about the force of nature that is Georges St-Pierre. Styles make fights and it appears as if no style seems suited to upend GSP.
Outside of an eye poke that blinds or resurrecting the punches of Matt Serra, St-Pierre looks unbeatable. Diaz should make things interesting but could likely end up spending most of the fight on his back going for submissions but ultimately being smothered.
Chances of Champion losing his belt: Let’s give GSP a 15 percent chance of losing his belt via a "puncher’s or submissions chance."