Article by Safeer MS
UFC, the premier MMA promotion in the world, saw surprise champions in 2023. Long-reigning champions suffered defeat and new champions look poised to define an era. Here is my prediction of who will be the female UFC champions at the end of 2024.
Current Champion - Zhang Weili
Zhang Weili, the current champion, will be looking to defend her title against Yan Xioanan at UFC 300. Weili is expected to defend the title against her countrymate. There are no viable title contenders available in the division except for Tatiana Suarez. Suarez was set to face Amanda Lemos at UFC 298 but withdrew due to injury and was replaced by Mackenzie Dern. Jessica Andrade is also scheduled to fight at UFC 300; against Marina Rodriguez.
Suarez is expected to return sooner than later and will most likely face the winner of Lemos versus Dern. The American wrestler should defeat the winner of Lemos versus Dern and take on Weili for the title. Even though Weili has shown improved wrestling, Suarez is on a different level as a wrestler and grappler. Nicknamed the „Female Khabib“, Suarez is a safe pick to be a champion by the end of 2023
2024 Prediction - Tatiana Suarez
Current Champion - Alexa Grasso
Alexa Grasso was a surprise champion in 2023 as she upset Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 285. She defended the title at Noche UFC in the rematch via a controversial split decision thus setting the stage for a trilogy fight in 2024. From the improvements Shevchenko made in the rematch, it is expected that she will reclaim the title from Grasso in 2024.
Manon Fiorot and Erin Blanchfield are the two viable contenders in the division and they are scheduled to fight at UFC Fight Night 240. Blanchfield is expected to win over the French woman and will face the winner of Grasso vs Shevchenko III; most likely Shevchenko. Undefeated in the UFC, Blanchfield would beat Shevchenko if they fought as Shevchenko has shown a weakness against strong grapplers.
2024 Prediction - Erin Blanchfield
Current Champion - Raquel Pennington
The women’s bantamweight title was left vacant after Amanda Nunes retired at UFC 289. At UFC 297, the first PPV of 2024, Raquel Pennington won the vacant title by defeating Mayra Bueno Silva in a fight described as a snoozefest by fans and fighters alike. Pennington is expected to fight Julianna Peña in her first title defense and Peña would most likely win the fight.
Kayla Harrison will make her UFC debut at UFC 300 against Holly Holm at bantamweight and the winner could get a title shot next. Ketlen Vieira and Irene Aldana are other contenders who could get a title shot after Peña. With Harrison making her debut, Nunes might come back from retirement and she had already hinted at it. From her interview at UFC 297 to ESPN MMA’s Megan Olivi, it is very likely she will come back and Nunes becoming the champion is just an eventuality.
2024 Prediction - Amanda Nunes