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Tuesday, 12/31/2013, 11:10 am

14 predictions for the UFC in 2014: The Year Of Ronda Rousey?

It’s the last day of 2013 and what a year.

As we look ahead to the New Year, here are fourteen predictions for the UFC’s 2014 season:

#14 – 2012 didn’t end the way Michael Johnson would have wanted it after winning 3 fights in a row, he then ended 2012 with a loss in December. This year (2013) he ended it with a bang after beating Joe Lauzon and a brutal KO last week of Gleison Tibau. I see big things in 2014 from him and I predict he will be a #1 contender if not have a title shot in 2014.

#13 – There is no doubt that 2013 didn’t start off like Leonard Garcia would have liked it to when he lost his 5th UFC fight in a row on April 27th 2013. With that loss he then left the UFC and turned himself from a great scrapper to a technical mixed martial artist with the help of Team Alpha Male and the great Duane “Bang” Ludwig. Leonard won his last 3 fights of 2013 all by finishes and won the Legacy FC Featherweight Championship. I predict he will continue this run and return to the UFC with great success in 2014.

#12 – Tito Ortiz will not fight in the UFC in 2014…. or any other organization for that matter.

#11 – With the UFC acquiring the top strawweight fighters from Invicta and also announcing that season 20 of TUF will feature the first ever all-female cast in 2014 I see big things coming from this. I think most people have Carla Esparza or Felice Herrig as the favorite to win it, but I am predicting that a highly motivated Rose Namajunas will take it and make 2014 a big year for her. Maybe even utilizing her famous flying armbar.

#10 – GSP will not fight Nick Diaz.

#9 – Travis Browne will defeat Fabricio Werdum and then if Cain Velasquez can stay injury free then beat him as well and become the new heavyweight champion in 2014.

#8 – I think we should really look for a big year from Raquel Pennington. After TUF 18 there is now some great young talent in the bantamweight division and there should be some great fights coming in 2014. I just think the one from that show to really keep your eye on is Rocky P, Raquel Pennington.

#7 – Rich Franklin will fight his last fight on his UFC contract and then become the next UFC Hall-of-fame inductee.

#6 – Another long time UFC fighter I see having his last fight in 2014 is Frank Mir. Frank Mir had his first UFC fight in 2001 and has had a crazy career ever since. No doubt he will go down as one of the best heavyweights in UFC history but with his 3-fight losing streak and no sign of Team Jackson changing that I see him having his last fight in 2014.

#5 – I see Jose Aldo going up to 155lbs and taking on Anthony Pettis sometime in 2014 which will open the door for our own BJ Penn to possibly become the first ever UFC champion in 3 different weight classes. 2014 will be a big year for Aldo and Penn.

#4 – Roy Jones Jr. will not box Nick Diaz in 2014, but we will see a return to action from Nick Diaz when the UFC needs someone to step in and sell tickets in the welterweight division. I see Johnny Hendricks vs. Nick Diaz in 2014 for the welterweight championship.

#3 – With his gruesome injury at UFC 168 there is a lot of speculation that the G.O.A.T. Anderson Silva will never return to action. I think Silva will return to fighting and he will do it in 2014, faster than anyone expects. He is exceptional and has proven many wrong time and time again.

#2 – The year of Ronda Rousey…. Again. 2013 was such a huge year for WMMA and no one played a bigger part in that than Ronda Rousey. The UFC had their first ever women’s main event, fight, and champion all in one night. The women in the bantamweight division didn’t let us down with great fights all year. Ronda’s star has never shined brighter and with GSP stepping down and Silva being out the UFC will need Ronda to be the big draw. I look for an even bigger push from the UFC for Ronda Rousey in 2014.

#1 – How I see 2014 ending is with a bang, and this is who I see being the champion’s at the end. Heavyweight – Travis Browne, Light-heavyweight – Alexander Gustafsson, middleweight – Anderson Silva, welterweight – Carlos Condit, lightweight – Jose Aldo, featherweight – Bj Penn, Bantamweight – Renan Barao, flyweight – Demetrious Johnson, Women’s strawweight – Rose Namajunas, and Women’s bantamweight – Ronda Rousey.

I know not everyone is going to agree and this is only my opinion so feel free to let me know what you disagree with in the messages below. Thank you all so much for your support and for making 2013 a great year for us at bjpenn.com. Have a safe and happy new year.

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