2013 was undoubtedly the best year of the UFC's history. We kicked off the year with a great superfight between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar. Women's MMA took the center stage. Nick Diaz and GSP finally settled their issues in the cage. After a season of TUF, Chael Sonnen talked his way into a bout with the Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones and came oh-so-close to winning the title via an injury TKO. Junior dos Santos clawed his way back for a trilogy while Cain Velasquez settled his business with Bigfoot Silva. Rashad Evans got back on the winning track against Dan Henderson. Then, Chris Weidman did the unthinkable and dethroned the king, Anderson Silva. Jose Aldo then had a tough fight against the very game Korean Zombie. Anthony Pettis finally won the title. Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson had possibly the greatest fight in the company's history. Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos settled their grudge match. GSP won a razor-thin split decision against Johny Hendricks and subsequently retired, and we still have the rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva left to go.
2014 probably can't match the success the UFC has found in 2013, but it can sure come close. Let's take a look at my predictions for 2014.
1) Johny Hendricks wins the vacant welterweight title and makes two more title defenses against Carlos Condit and Rory MacDonald(who wins two fights against Demian Maia and Tarec Saffeidine to win the title shot)
2) Chris Weidman makes two title defenses against Vitor Belfort and Jacare Souza
3) Cathal Pendred wins TUF 19
4) Carla Esparza wins TUF 20
5) The UFC's digital network flops. This may be a shocking one. I think the UFC has a good idea in this digital network, but they are making a big mistake by having cards such as the Gustafsson vs Manuwa card only available on the digital network will polarize fans and a lot of fans will not watch because of this. We'll see how it works out but I think it will flop.
6) Conor McGregor will win two fights in 2014 and crack the top 10 of the 145 pound division.
7) Jimi Manuwa loses to Alexander Gustafsson but rattles off three wins to also crack the top 10 of his division.
8) Gustafsson gets a rematch against Jones(who defeats Glover via unanimous decision) following his win over Manuwa in Stockholm. After a five-round war, Gustafsson wins a split decision to get the title.
9) Ronda Rousey continues to polarize fans and media members alike, angers the UFC with her refusal to do media, and loses her title to Cat Zingano following her return.
10) The UFC holds a pay-per-view that cracks 1,000,000 buys. However, by year's end, they begin to move away from the dying PPV business.
11) Renan Barao defeats Dominick Cruz to win the true Bantamweight title. Urijah Faber gets a title shot but loses, then defeats Dominick Cruz in their grudge match.
12) Chad Mendes defeats Jose Aldo to win the title
13) Cain Velasquez and Anthony Pettis do NOT fight at all in 2014
14) The ten-point must system is done away with by the end of the year and replaced by a system much better suited for MMA(ok, maybe this one is a bit of wishful thinking...)