Weeks ago, Leon Edwards did the impossible: He ended Kamaru Usman’s 3½-year title reign. Living up to his moniker, “Rocky” not only dethroned the UFC welterweight champion but also handed him his first loss in a decade.
The challenger cashed as a big underdog on the UFC betting lines and reminded us that no one is untouchable. Which brings us to our question: Who is the next long-reigning champ to fall? Let’s get to it and Bet on UFC!
Dominant Champs: From Least to Most Likely to Lose
We ranked the most dominant champions across the major promotions by how likely they are to be defeated. The lower their ranking, the “safer” they are by our estimation. The only champs we considered have: a) at least four title defenses; and/or b) have held the belt for at least three years… with some exceptions.
9. Kayla Harrison
While not the traditional champion, Harrison has been PFL’s lightweight queen since winning the inaugural tournament in December 2019. Since then, she’s won the 2021 tournament and has gone 7-0 in the promotion. We can’t imagine her losing any time soon and the online gambling odds should heavily favor her as she wins her third straight tournament.
- Next Fight: Larissa Pacheco 2, PFL 10 (Nov. 25, 2022)
8. Valentina Shevchenko
Thanks to Amanda Nunes’ upset loss, Shevchenko now has the claim as the UFC’s most dominant champion. The 125-pound goddess has only lost to Nunes at 135 pounds. She’s 9-0 in the division with seven successful defenses and a long list of records.
- Next Fight: TBD (potential rematch with Taila Santos)
7. Amanda Nunes (Featherweight)
Nunes dropped her bantamweight title to Julianna Pena but quickly avenged that loss. But as a featherweight, she’s been unchallenged. However, that loss to Pena did pierce her aura of invincibility. But since the 145-pound women’s division is so barren of elite talent, Nunes will hold on to that strap eternally.
- Next Fight: TBD (Norma Dumont is a possibility)
6. Alexander Volkanovski
Volkanovski has four title defenses but he’s “cleaned out” the division. Every other contender seems tiers below him and any fight at 145 will favor him greatly when betting online. Still, challengers like Yair Rodriguez and Arnold Allen present unique matchups for him.
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- Next Fight: TBD (potentially the winner of Calvin Kattar-Arnold Allen)
5. Angela Lee
ONE Championship’s golden girl has been the champion for the longest of all the fighters here. Lee has held the ONE Atomweight Championship (115 pounds) since 2016 and defended it five times. Her only loss in this time has been at strawweight against Xiong Jing Nan, whom she beat at atomweight. Their rubber match awaits and the lines should be tight.
- Next Fight: vs Xiong Jing Nan, ONE Fight Night 2 (Sept. 30, 2022)
4. Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino
Like Nunes, Cyborg can remain champ at 145 pounds because of the lack of elite competition. However, Cyborg is 37 years old and has been fighting for over 17 years. There is a slight chance she gets upset by an up-and-comer as she’s obviously slowed down since her early heydays.
- Next Fight: TBD
3. Xiong Jing Nan
The first Chinese fighter to win a major MMA belt has been the champ since 2018 with six total defenses, including one over Lee. Jing Nan turned back Lee in 2019 but the odds could be against her in the trilogy. She’s been akin to Israel Adesanya in the women’s strawweight division, as the two fighting champs meet their toughest rivals next.
- Next Fight: vs Angela Lee, ONE Fight Night 2 (Sept. 30, 2022)
2. Joshua Pacio
This may be the first time you’ve heard of Joshua Pacio. But the strawweight (125 pounds) king is ONE’s longest-reigning male champion. His only loss in the last five years came via a bogus split decision against Yosuke Saruta, who he knocked out twice after. His toughest test as a champ now comes against former UFC prospect Jarred Brooks.
- Next Fight: Jarred Brooks (Date TBA)
1. Israel Adesanya
Adesanya has been virtually untouchable since becoming the UFC middleweight champion in late 2019. The “Last Stylebender” has defended the belt five times but will now face an old nemesis: Alex Pereira, the man who knocked him out cold. The betting odds have “Izzy” favored, though it’s the smallest he will be since fighting for the belt.
- Next Fight: vs Alex Pereira, UFC 281 (Nov. 12, 2022)