Flamboyant fighters that end bouts with one blow are coming back to the forefront in MMA for 2016. The new year will have some protecting their belts while others will be climbing their way back on top of the mountain. UFC 200 could also be the stage of one of the most anticipated bouts becoming a reality. So sit back and enjoy as we present to you the top seven MMA stars for 2016.

Grand Plans

Colin McGregor has already outlined his quest for the lightweight belt and conditions he would grant Jose Aldo a rematch in 2016. His confidence and career planning are crystal clear. Alas, he has to beat Aldo in UFC 194 to make all this come true. Ireland’s favorite son could be the pivotal force in the featherweight division for 2016 if he ends this year with his promised victory.

Train Wreck

Jon Jones will be most anxious to see the ball drop in Times Square to see the New Year come to pass. His personal life has derailed his professional career. A failed drug test for cocaine did not halt his fight with Daniel Cormier. An automobile accident and fleeing the scene were the final straw that forced him into rehab. The hoops will be many to jump through but may add fuel to the competitive fire of the former light heavyweight champ.

Personification of Violence

World Series of Fighting has a former NCAA All-American wrestler who fights with violence and loves to throw punches. The undefeated Justin Gaethje is their lightweight champion who is a force when he is vertical or on the ground. This combination should help the organization exceed growth expectations for 2016.

Walking Wounded

Forced to play the waiting game will not deter Khabib Nurmagomedov from returning in 2016. After defeating Rafael dos Anjos, this lightweight met with injury. A broken rib has been most problematic all summer and fall. Promising not to retire, it has taken all the way until December for him to start getting back into form. Next year could be the one finally to see get him get the title.

Silva Vs GSP

Dana says he is done but milestone UFC events bring people out of retirement. This entry is combined for the often predicated UFC 200 bout between George St-Pierre and the eternal Anderson Silva. Deep down George probably regrets turning down the option for this bout in the past. Financial incentive might spur the competitive juices to return to St-Pierre for one more fight.

Milking Holly Holm

The ladies made great headway in 2015 with their ability to not only headline the main card but have more than respectable PPV buy rates. Rhonda would have been stamped in this list except for that nagging kick to the temple in the second round that culminated one of the larger title upsets in all of MMA history Holly Holm went off on the betting odds anywhere from 10 to 1 in upwards of close to 20 to 1 depending on the wagering house. She brushed aside Rousey’s bull like charges to take her down. UFC would be wise in allowing her a few title defenses before the obligatory rematch with Rousey in 2016.

Active Champion?

Robbie Lawler wages wars in the welterweight division when he fights. Pity we only saw him once last year. His thumb is healed for him to have a title defense in UFC 195 to open up 2016. MMA needs an active champion in this weight class for continued success of the organization.

Bold predictions for the upcoming year. Contact sports are not for the weak willed and the aforementioned fighters promise us big things for next year. Fight fans around the world will be thrilled to see if they will deliver on the potential we see for 2016.

 

About The Author

Staff Writer/Betting Analyst

Phil Oscarson is a sports writer and betting odds analyst with over 10 years experience in the sports betting industry. When not writing about sports, he loves to play golf, basketball and tennis.