Predicting the UFC Champions of 2012

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Predicting the UFC Champions of 2012
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Over the past five years, some things have drastically changed while others have stayed the same in the world of mixed martial arts.

Pride went from the top organization in the world to non-existent. Strikeforce went from a contender to challenge the UFC for MMA supremacy to Zuffa's latest investment. During that time, some UFC belts have stayed in the same hands for years while others have traveled the world. 

Anderson Silva has been the UFC middleweight champion since October of 2006. Georges St-Pierre has had his belt nearly the same length of time minus the first title defense vs. Matt Serra. The lightweight belt stayed in B.J. Penn's hands for two years after he defeated Sean Sherk in May of 2008. Frankie Edgar has had it in his possession since defeating B.J. Penn in August of 2010. 

Now on to the less predictable weight classes. There have been seven light heavyweight champions over the last five years. Jon Jones has recently become the first fighter to defend the belt more than one time since Chuck Liddell. 

The heavyweight belt has moved around quite a bit as well. There have been five UFC champions and three separate interim heavyweight champions during that time period. 

In November of 2010, the bantamweight and featherweight divisions were introduced to the UFC after the merger was complete with the WEC. Jose Aldo has been the featherweight champion while Dominick Cruz has been the bantamweight champion since the merger took place. 

But who will be the seven UFC champions one year from now? How many times will the belts change hands in 2012?

Here are my predictions for the fate of the seven UFC belts over the next 12 months.

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