Holding on to a title in the UFC is no easy feat. Each division in the sport is stacked with fighters who eagerly await their turn to get a shot at the silverware.
Here is a look at three champions on the scene who look to have something special about them and appear on course to enter the Hall of Fame in their sport one day.
Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has a professional record of 22-1 with his sole defeat being that against Jan Blachowicz. Adesanya had stepped up to the light heavyweight division to take on the Polish fighter and this risk was met with a shock loss.
All in all, over the years, Adesanya has produced some memorable stoppages in his title defenses. For example, he KO’d Robert Whittaker in the second round of their contest in 2019, while more recently, he needed just two rounds to defeat Paulo Costa.
One of Adesanya’s most impressive wins, however, came against Kelvin Gastelum. The clash is inside the top 10 ten greatest UFC fights of all time as both men threw absolutely everything into it. Eventually, it was the Last Stylebender who was victorious.
At the age of 32, Adesanya will feel he has a lot more to achieve in the UFC. He will be bidding to capture a number of records before he retires, and they will help him cement his place as one of the best in history.
No current world champion in the UFC has had more successful title defenses than Kamaru Usman. When he defeated Colby Covington last November at UFC 268, it was the fifth time he had defended his welterweight crown.
Impressively, Usman has absolutely dominated the welterweight division since becoming a champion in March 2019. The Nigerian is now the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, a much-coveted position that every fighter in the sport wants to hold.
Such has been his dominance; Usman is running out of opponents at his weight. He may have to consider moving up or down a division, to face other top 10 pound-for-pound operators.
Most recently, Usman was named the Fighter of the Year in 2021. It is going to be fascinating to see who he faces in 2022 inside the Octagon.
With six consecutive victories to his name, Francis Ngannou is the number one fighter in the heavyweight division. He is known for winning the heavyweight title with a massive victory over Stope Miocic in March 2021.
Ngannou defended his belt earlier this year when he prevailed against Ciryl Gane following five rounds. It is believed that he could be set to dominate the heavyweight division for some time as not many fighters at the weight can handle his power.
The 35-year-old has reached the top of the sport late into his career. However, he remains in great shape, so he is likely to be around for a while yet. Tai Tuivasa, Curtis Blaydes, and Derrick Lewis could be opponents in 2022 for the heavyweight champion.
Hopefully, UFC fans get to see a lot more of the above three fighters before they retire. Once they do decide to leave the Octagon for the final time, it may not take long for them to be honored into the Hall of Fame.
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