Predicting The Next ONE World Champion In Each Division

ONE Championship currently has 10 mixed martial arts world champions across 11 divisions. Some of the champions have reigned over their divisions for over a year, while some were crowned only recently.

Let’s take a look at the entire current ONE roster and try to predict which athletes could become the next champions in each weight class.

ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship – Mei Yamaguchi

The current champion is Angela Lee, who in her last bout stepped up to strawweight to challenge Xiong Jing Nan for her title. Lee lost via fifth-round technical knockout, so it’s unlikely she’ll compete at Atomweight again so soon. If she doesn’t return to her division, it’s easy to see the belt being vacated. If that happens, we don’t know exactly how ONE would fill the spot. In the past, two top contenders have battled for the vacated championship. You’d have to think the Japanese legend Mei Yamaguchi would get a title shot. Most would give her the nod over any of the other current contenders in the division.

ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship – Angela Lee

Lee fell short in her first attempt to knock off Xiong Jing Nan, but many believe she would get the job done in a rematch. Lee controlled the first four rounds of the initial meeting and nearly submitted Xiong in the fourth. Unfortunately, Lee gassed out in the final round, and Xiong came through with the come-from-behind stoppage win. Given a second chance, a lot of analysts predict Lee would grab the title from Xiong.

ONE Strawweight World Championship – Hayato Suzuki

The truth is, the next strawweight champion may not be on the roster yet. Joshua Pacio appears to have a good grip on the belt, even though he was upset by Yosuke Saruta in January before exacting revenge to regain the title in the April rematch. However, if we were to pick one contender who has the best chance to dethrone Pacio, it would be Japan’s Hayato Suzuki.

Pacio has already lost to Suzuki earlier in his career, and the two were supposed to meet in January, but the latter was injured, which prompted Saruta as the replacement. Suzuki’s ground game is dangerous, and he may have Pacio’s number.

ONE Flyweight World Championship – Demetrious Johnson

Adriano Moraes is one of the best flyweights in the world, but the man at the top of the food chain is coming for his title. Demetrius Johnson is competing in the ONE Men’s Flyweight Grand Prix. He’s currently in the semifinals after defeating Yuya Wakamatsu in the quarterfinals. If Johnson wins the Grand Prix, he gets a shot at Moraes’ title. As good as the Brazilian is, Johnson will complete his mission and become the ONE Flyweight World Champion.

ONE Bantamweight World Championship – Muin Gafurov

No one is sure how much longer Bibiano Fernandes will reign, but is there anyone currently on the horizon who can beat him? And that includes Kevin Belingon whom he’ll be facing for a fourth time later this year. That said, the man who comes up as the probable next ONE Bantamweight World Champion is Tajikistan’s own Muin Gafurov. He’s still just 23 years old, but he’s been competing professionally since 2013. He had a shot at Belingon and Reece McLaren back in 2016, but he wasn’t ripe yet then. The next time he gets an opportunity, he’ll be more prepared.

ONE Featherweight World Championship – Garry Tonon

Martin Nguyen is a fantastic champion, but something says that the undefeated American contender Garry Tonon is coming for the throne. He’s had only five professional mixed martial arts bouts, but the world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner is getting better every time he climbs into the ONE Circle. He’s a future champion, and it could happen sooner rather than later.

ONE Lightweight World Championship – Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev

Christian Lee just won his title from Shinya Aoki in May at ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON. It was an excellent comeback performance for Lee, who was nearly submitted in the first round. However, Arslanaliev is a different animal. He’s already punched his ticket for the ONE Lightweight Grand Prix final, and he will be facing the winner of the Honorio BanarioTimofey Nastyuhkin semifinal. No matter who wins, it would favor Arslanaliev to win the Grand Prix and to dethrone Lee.

ONE Welterweight World Championship – Kiamrian Abbasov

The Kyrgyzstani warrior is on a three-bout winning streak. He dispatched Yushin Okami and Agilan Thani in his last two bouts, so you could make a strong argument he is ready for a shot at Zebaztian Kadestam. Abbasov has a well-rounded game with the ability to finish opponents in several ways. He’s a great candidate as the next ONE Welterweight World Champion.

ONE Middleweight World Championship – Reinier De Ridder

Aung La N Sang is one of the promotion’s biggest stars. He’s the ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion and has been successfully defending both titles. The middleweight crown could be in jeopardy, though. The Netherlands’ De Ridder is an undefeated submission machine with solid overall skills. His ground game is so strong, you could see him controlling Aung La for five rounds and taking a decision win along with the middleweight championship.

ONE Light Heavyweight World Championship – An Outsider

There are very few options to choose from as the light heavyweight roster isn’t really deep at the moment. That’s why the next light heavyweight champion will be someone who isn’t currently competing with ONE.

ONE Heavyweight World Championship – An Outsider

The heaviest division in the promotion doesn’t have a ton of representation, and that’s why it’s tough to find someone who can challenge Brandon Vera and become the next champion.

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