Which UFC champ has the toughest contenders? Part 1

115 pound Champ: Rose Namajunas (11-4).

Contenders: #2 Carla Esparza (18-6), #3 Marina Rodriguez (16-1-2), #4 Mackenzie Dern (12-2). Honorable Mention: #1 Zhang Weili (21-3):

Strawweight champ Rose Namajunas has her work cut out for her after defending her belt vs former champ Weili, as far as rivals go Rose has defeated Joanna and Weili twice, which means she is due to face Carla Esparza in a highly anticipated rematch. #3 ranked Rodriguez has been on a warpath since losing to Esparza two years ago, since then she has beaten the top names of her weight class and is on a 4 fight win streak. #4 Dern is back in the win column after defeating Tecia Torres in a pivotal fight to toss her name back into contention. Weili is always going to be the most feared contender but has to get through Joanna in order to compete for the belt again.  

125 pound Champ: Valentina Shevchenko (22-3)

Contenders: #1 Jessica Andrade (22-9), #2 Katlyn Chookagian (17-4), #4 Taila Santos (19-1), Honorable: #5 Alexa Grasso (14-3): The Bullet has run the table on her division. She has taken out every contender and sent them to a purgatory where they are usually never heard from again. #1 Jessica lost to Valentina last April but bounced back with a TKO victory to solidify her contenders status. #2 Katlyn, has also lost to the champ but that was 2 years ago, since then she has gone on a 3 fight win streak and is inching closer to the title. #4 Santos is the dark horse, but is 4-0 and hasn’t lost in 3 years. 

135 pound champ: Juliana Pena (11-4)

Contenders: #1 Amanda Nunes (21-5), #3 Irene Aldana (13-6), #4 Raquel Pennington (14-8) Honorable: #2 Holly Holm (14-5): Juliana took down the female GOAT last December when she stopped Amanda in the 2nd round. Both fighters are set to rematch after their season of TUF. #3 Aldana gets the nod over Holly Holm (who she lost to) due to Holly’s 2-year layoff. #4 Rocky has been on a career resurgence with a 4 fight win streak and is looking like the fighter that fought for the title in 2018. 

125-pound champ: Deiveson Figueiredo (21-2-1)

Contenders: #1 Brandon Moreno (19-6-2), #2 Kai Kara-France (24-9), #4 Alexander Pantoja (24-5) Honorable: #3 Askar Askarov (14-1-1): The men’s Flyweight division has only had 3 champs, DJ, Fig and Moreno. While Fig and Moreno have put on one of the most trilogies of all time, we are unsure when or if #4 will happen. #2 Kai recently took out #1 contender Askarov and is salivating at the mouth knowing his turn is near but is on the waitlist like everyone else. #4 Pantoja is a former TUF semi-finalist and one of the most consistent at 125, he is currently on a 2 fight win streak. 

135-pound champ: Alajamain Sterling (21-3)

Contenders: #2 Tj Dillashaw (17-4), #3 Jose Aldo (31-7), #6 Merab Dvalishvili (14-4), Honorable #1 Petr Yan (16-3): Aljo finally overcame his biggest rival to date and beat Petr Yan by split decision. While Petr will remain a contender it is unlikely he receives an immediate rematch barring some unforeseen circumstance. #2 TJ is looking to return after defeating Sandhagen last July and by all accounts, it looks like he is the next man up. #3 Aldo is looking like a younger version of himself and is on a 3 fight win streak (Vera, Munhoz, Font). While not many see #6 Merab as a threat, he could one day compete vs his friend Aljo, the Georgian is on a 7 fight win streak. 

145-pound champ: Alexander Volkanovski (24-1)

Contenders: #1 Max Holloway (23-6), #6 Arnold Allen (18-1), Henry Cejudo (16-2) Honorable: #2 Brian Ortega (15-2): Volk is running out of options, he is undefeated in the UFC and recently scored another name in the Korean Zombie. #1 Holloway has lost twice to Volk, but is on a 2 fight streak (Kattar, Yair Rodriguez) we could see a title eliminator in the near future. #6 Allen is a fighter that many are sleeping on, the Britt is on an 11-0 win streak (undefeated in UFC) and recently took out Dan Hooker via TKO. Henry Cejudo is unranked and back in the USADA test pool, but due to his pedigree and resume as well as his banter with Volk is why he could be one of his toughest contenders.

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