NOTE: Check out our updated rankings here.
Just this last Saturday, Tyron Woodley floored two-time defending champion Robbie Lawler to snatch the welterweight title in sudden, violent fashion. It was yet another upset in a year that’s seen seven title changes – and we’re only 2/3s of the way through 2016.
In the 15 years that the UFC has operated under Zuffa, we’ve never seen such instability among titleholders. Almost no champion seems poised to dominate a division in the way that Anderson Silva or Georges St. Pierre did. In fact, there are already a few new champs who seem like they could lose in their first UFC title defense.
UFC Odds: Which Titleholder Is “Safest”?
This ranking asks a simple question: which current titleholder seems “safest” in UFC championship betting? On paper, the dropoff is steep after a few obvious answers. Check out our rankings and leave a comment if you disagree.
We’ve also posted the latest UFC betting odds for each champion’s next confirmed fight, courtesy of BookMaker.eu.
1. Demetrious Johnson
Men’s flyweight champion
With Jon Jones out of the foreseeable future, there is no doubt as to who the most dominant MMA champion on the planet is right now.
Having cleared out every credible fighter at 125 pounds, in some cases twice, it’s easy to see Johnson breaking Anderson Silva’s record for 10 consecutive title defenses – DJ currently has eight.
“Mighty Mouse” is so damn good that he’s running out of opponents: the next season of The Ultimate Fighter will be based around the gimmick of the winner getting a shot at the champ.
2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Women’s strawweight champion
Next Fight: TBD
With a second victory over rival Claudia Gadelha, Jedrzejczyk sent the woman who is easily her most dangerous opponent to the end of the line. Like Demetrious Johnson, J-Check appears to be a full lap ahead of the competition.
While the de facto title eliminator between Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Rose Namajunas at UFC 201 was a lot of fun, neither women put on a performance that would indicate they’d be anything less than a +400 underdog against Jedrzejczyk.
3. Dominick Cruz
Men’s bantamweight champion
Next Fight: TBD
Dominick Cruz joins J-Check as a champion with only one real threat. In this case, it’s T.J. Dillashaw. “The Dominator” beat Dillashaw in an inspiring performance, but the matchup was close enough to justify a rematch. He needs to put T.J. away a second time to really take ownership of the bantamweight division.
4. Daniel Cormier
Men’s light heavyweight champion
Next Fight: TBD
With Jon Jones out of the picture for two years, Cormier looks firmly entrenched as the 205-pound kingpin. It helps that the light heavyweight division – once a marquee weight class – is the thinnest it’s been in years. “DC” has already beaten Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson. Who else really is a threat?
5. Conor McGregor
Men’s featherweight champion
Next Fight: UFC 202, August 20
Fight odds: Conor McGregor (-125) vs. Nate Diaz (+106)
While McGregor lost his last fight to Nate Diaz, that doesn’t affect his status as the 145-pound champion. The Irish superstar has torched every featherweight he’s faced, including former champion two-time title challenger Chad Mendes, blue chip stud Max Holloway and the featherweight GOAT in Jose Aldo. But it’s highly unlikely the rematch with interim champion Jose Aldo will be so easy. Plus, Frankie Edgar is still a horrible matchup for Conor, and Max Holloway has evolved rapidly since their first encounter.
6. Tyron Woodley
Men’s welterweight champion
Our newest champion presides over one of the most top-heavy divisions in the UFC. It seems like the welterweight top five — which includes Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, Robbie Lawler, Rory MacDonald and Demian Maia – could all beat each other on any given night. But Woodley is the most explosive of the bunch, and he proved that his speed and athleticism are true difference-makers.
7. Amanda Nunes
Women’s bantamweight champion
Next Fight: TBD
Here’s where it starts to get really difficult. The rest of these rankings all feature champions that don’t seem as if they could dominate their respective divisions. Amanda Nunes rests atop an extremely volatile division that has seen the belt change hands three times in three straight fights. Plus, she’s lost to some of the current contenders. But her ceiling is sky high: she is arguably the best bantamweight striker and a superb jiu-jitsu practitioner. It’s plausible she could pull away from the rest of the class.
8. Stipe Miocic
Men’s heavyweight champion
Next fight: UFC 203, September 10
Fight odds: Alistair Overeem (+105) vs. Stipe Miocic (-125)
Perhaps the most well-rounded heavyweight on the roster, Miocic would place higher on this list, but the heavyweight belt never seems to stay in one place for long. Plus, former champion Cain Velasquez looks healthy, and he still has the highest potential of anyone in the division. The Cleveland firefighter is barely a favorite in his first title defense against Alistair Overeem, and would likely be an underdog against Cain Velasquez.
9. Eddie Alvarez
Men’s lightweight champion
The Philadelphian shocked the world by laying out Rafael Dos Anjos, who had put together one of the best runs at 155 in recent memory. That just goes to show you how competitive the UFC’s most loaded division is. There are just too many monsters waiting to go at him to have much confidence in a lengthy run, and Alvarez would likely be an underdog against guys like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
10. Michael Bisping
Men’s middleweight champion
Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson
The Brit validated a long and illustrious career by authoring one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. And he’ll likely defend it successfully against an ancient Dan Henderson. But do you really think he can beat Rockhold again? Or that he could survive a murderer’s row of Chris Weidman, Ronaldo Souza and Yoel Romero? It’s highly doubtful.
Who would lead in a matchup of UFC champions Georges St Pierre vs Tyron Woodley? Read more in UFC Odds: Georges St. Pierre Opens as Slight Favorite Over Tyron Woodley