The past year in the UFC had its share of exciting fights, new champions, up-and-coming fighters, and controversy. But that was 2008.
What can the fans expect to see in 2009? I have some bold predictions.
The light heavyweight title changed hands two times in 2008. Forrest Griffin defeated Rampage Jackson for the title on July 5. Then, Rashad Evans defeated Forrest Griffin on Dec. 27.
Expect to see the light heavyweight title change hands at least two more times again in 2009. I predict either Griffin or Rampage will be the champion again in 2009.
With the Heavyweight Tournament reaching the championship round, we will see Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar II.
I predict that Frank Mir will be 2-0 against Brock Lesnar thanks to another submission victory.
Kenny Florian won all three fights in 2008, defeating Joe Lauzon, Roger Huerta, and Joe Stevenson. In doing so, he became the No. 1 contender for the lightweight title.
However, I don't think Kenny Florian will get a title shot against BJ Penn in 2009.
In 2008, there was much debate about Anderson Silva and a potential move to the light heavyweight division. Silva supposedly has a mere five fights remaining before he retires. One fight will be against Thales Leites.
Don't expect to see Anderson Silva fight at light heavyweight in 2009. The division is already stacked without him. Anderson carries the weak middleweight division and it can't survive without him. However, expect to see a fight against Michael Bisping in 2009.
The Ultimate Fighter 9 is known to feature a theme of US vs. UK. Bisping is set to be the coach of Team UK. The winner of the fight between Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin will be the coach of Team USA.
I predict Dan Henderson to win the fight. I feel like he has a bigger desire to coach, plus Rich doesn't want to go back down to middleweight. I also predict Team USA to perform better on the show than Team UK. I believe Henderson will be a better coach than Bisping. However, Bisping will defeat Henderson in their fight.
Other random predictions for 2009...
Cheick Kongo will knee somebody in the testicles.
Joe Rogan will attempt to make up more words.
Junie Browning will make idiotic comments.
Fighters from TUF 8 will be successful.
Thiago Alves will come in overweight for a fight.
Lyoto Machida will finally lose a fight.
Jason MacDonald will no longer have the nickname "The Athlete." (I can hope!)
Demian Maia and Dustin Hazelett will both dominant with their BJJ.
A championship match will go all five rounds.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will lose by (T)KO again.
Dana White will grow facial hair. OK, that probably won't happen, but it would be hilarious if he grew a police officer-esque mustache.