14. UFC and MMA in general will “struggle” with TV ratings and PPV buys continue to decline or holding steady
The loss of the two biggest stars in the MMA world in Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva coupled with injuries to other stars (Cain Velasquez, Anthony Pettis) and the increasing number of UFC events could mean even more oversaturation of MMA.
13. All current UFC Champions will retain their titles in 2014
Ronda Rousey is indomitable. Jon “Bones” Jones will reign supreme. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson only keeps getting better. And Chris Weidman is only going to build on his back-to-back mauling of Anderson Silva. I don’t see any current UFC champions dropping their belts in 2014.
12. Jessica Penne and Michelle Waterson wage war in a rematch for the Invicta Atomweight Title with Penne regaining the title in what will be the best women’s fight outside the UFC
The Penne and Waterson title fight early in 2013 was an underrated classic. When the two meet again in the inevitable rematch, they’ll put on another classic that will have talking heads look to recognized female atomweights for the UFC.
11. Ben Askren dominates One FC going undefeated in 2014 and finishing all opponents and strengthens his status as the “Best Fighter outside the UFC”
He almost contemplated retirement after briefly being unemployed but the wrestling star is back. Askren will take advantage of the relatively unknown division and dominate every opponent he faces until One FC can sign a higher-level talent.
10. B.J. Penn finally retires after suffering his fifth loss in seven games and third consecutive loss to Frankie Edgar
B.J. Penn will make an emphatic return to the UFC scene on The Ultimate Fighter 19 and he’ll make more noise inside the octagon against Frankie “The Truth” Edgar. But it won’t be enough as he’ll lose a close decision to which he will then announce his retirement to the applause and admiration of millions.
9. UFC continues aggressive international expansion focusing on Asia: Mainland China and Southeast Asia particularly
With the UFC’s debut in Singapore, the rest of Asia may soon follow. Events in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Mainland China may happen. Outside Asia, Mexico’s a strong possibility.
8. Tecia Torres wins the The Ultimate Fighter 20 and the UFC’s Inaugural Women’s Strawweight Title narrowly defeating Barb Honchak in the Finals
Carla Esparza and Joanne Calderwood seem like popular choices to win TUF 20 but I think it’s the “Tiny Tornado” Tecia Torres who’ll be winning it all despite being the smallest fighter making for one of the better underdog stories this year.
7. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson becomes the UFC’s main breakout star
Mighty Mouse was the only UFC champion to go 3-0 in 2013 and punctuated it with a huge knockout as an answer to critics of his stopping power. He’s looked better as he keeps fighting and the world will put the flyweights on the grid for good.
6. Michael Chandler recaptures Bellator Lightweight Title from Eddie Alvarez in conclusion to trilogy and main event to Bellator’s first PPV
Chandler and Alvarez will go at it for the third time and will put on another amazing fight. Chandler will outlast his rival in a close decision to reclaim the belt as they headline Bellator’s first PPV.
5. GSP, Brock Lesnar and Nick Diaz do NOT return to the UFC or MMA
They will make more buzz than most active fighters in 2014 thanks to social media and endless “rumour” talks but none of GSP, Brock Lesnar or Nick Diaz will be making a comeback to the octagon for this year.
4. No “Superfights”
Talk of a Jose Aldo vs Anthony Pettis fight or the Anderson Silva vs Roy Jones fight will flood the Internet but neither will actually transpire. Aldo and Pettis have to defend their titles and are injury prone. Silva will return to action but against a fellow mixed martial artist, not a boxer.
3. Ronda Rousey defends belt three times in 2014 and talks of retirement resurface
Rousey’s toughest test in 2014 is Sara McMann but after she overcomes her she’ll continue to dominate the division while having a part-time gig in Hollywood. The dreaded “R” word will come up again as many could say she doesn’t have anything left to prove.
2. Anderson Silva returns with a vengeance; finishes non-title opponent in emphatic fashion
Anderson Silva will make his comeback of the year in the form of a huge knockout or submission. News of his demise would be greatly exaggerated as Spider will prove he’s still a force to be reckoned with.
1. Jon “Bones” Jones becomes the UFC’s P4P King and PPV King
With GSP gone and Anderson Silva done for most of the year, it’ll be Jon “Bones” Jones who’ll headline the most top-selling UFC PPVs especially if and when that rematch with Alex Gustafsson transpires. He’ll also solidify his spot as the UFC’s #1 P4P king.