Who Will Be the UFC Lightweight Champion at the End of 2022?

Who Will Be the UFC Lightweight Champion at the End of 2022?

At some point in 2022, current UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira is going to face Justin Gaethje in a title fight. If he survives, Oliveira will most likely get the opportunity to battle rising star Islam Makhachev.

Makhachev is the protégé of fomer lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and should finally have a chance to fight for a belt in 2022. Whatever happens, it’s unlikely that the current champion – Oliveira – holds the lightweight belt at the end of the year.

UFC Lightweight Title Fight

At UFC 269, Oliveira beat Dustin Poirier by submission in the third round of UFC 269 defending his lightweight title. The champ’s next fight will be against the world’s No. 1 contender – Gaethje. That fight has not been given a date as of yet.

Interestingly, Oliveira, who is listed at +200 to be the champ at the end of 2022, has made mention of fighting former champion and now the No. 9 ranked lightweight Conor McGregor. It seems unlikely, but you never know.

The Contenders

Right behind Gaethje is No. 2 Poirier who is unlikely to get another shot at the title in 2022. That’s why he is listed at +1200 to be the champ at the end of the year.

A better bet is third-ranked Beneil Dariush, who will have a chance to make a name for himself and possibly earn a title fight with a win over No. 4 Islam Makhachev. Dariush is given +1400 odds to be the year-end champion.

The Best Bet

In the grand scheme of things, the best bet is probably on the 30-year-old Makhachev. As stated, a protégé of former champ Nurmagomedov, Makhachev has a record of 20-1. He has won his last ten fights in a row and will be favored to beat Dariush. That’s why Makhachev is the overall favorite at +175 to be the lightweight champ at the end of the year.

Sleepers

The lightweight division is extremely competitive, but the top three or four dominate. Dariush, if he can get past Makhachev, is a possibility. McGregor (+2000) is well past his prime but, if he gets a shot at Oliveira, anything could happen.

The only other real longshot to keep an eye on is Rafael Dos Anjos. He’s 29-13 overall and won his last fight. He will take on Rafael Fiziev (+7500) in February. If he can somehow manage to get a fight with one of the top three or four in the weight class, it’s possible he squeezes his way into a title fight by year’s end. Dos Anjos is also listed at +7500.

Odds to Be UFC Lightweight Champion at End of 2022

Islam Makhachev +175

Charles Oliveira +200

Justin Gaethje +225

Dustin Poirier +1200

Beneil Dariush +1400

Conor McGregor +2000

Nate Diaz +5000

Mateusz Gamrot +5000

Michael Chandler +5000

Rafael Dos Anjos +7500

Rafael Fiziev +7500

Tony Ferguson +10000

Damir Ismagulov +10000

Arman Tsarukyan +10000

Renato Moicano +15000

Joel Alvarez +15000

Grant Dawson +15000

Drew Dober +15000

David Teymur +15000

Bobby Green +15000

Thiago Moises +15000

Mark Madsen +15000

Joe Solecki +15000

Gregor Gillespie +15000

Dan Hooker +15000

Paddy Pimblett +25000

Diego Ferreira +25000

Brad Riddell +25000

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