Poll: Who Will Be UFC Lightweight Champion At The End Of 2015?

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It’s safe to say the UFC lightweight division got a serious shake-up when Rafael dos Anjos demolished Anthony Pettis over the course of five rounds in the main event of last weekend’s UFC 185 from Dallas, Texas.

The heavy underdog used a brutalizing mix of effective takedowns and no-nonsense striking to dethrone the former champ, whom many thought to be the UFC’s next superstar destined to top the pound-for-pound lists for years to come.

But “RDA” threw a big wrench in those gears, and now the 155-pound landscape is wide open when it comes to the top of the division. Dos Anjos could be on the sidelines for a decent amount of time as he heals up from a possibly torn MCL, but that’s not necessarily the worst thing in the world (as it was when Pettis missed the next 15 months off with a knee injury after he won the belt from Ben Henderson).

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Smothering Dagestani wrestler Khabib Nurmagomedov will return from a knee injury of his own to take on No. 3-ranked Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at May 23’s blockbuster UFC 187 card in a bout that will almost assuredly bring forth the next lightweight title contender.

Most are picking “The Eagle” to defeat Cerrone with his world-class grappling skills, which in turn would set up a dos Anjos vs. Nurmagomedov rematch for the belt sometime later this year. Nurmagomedov already beat dos Anjos with a rather one-sided display of wrestling last April, so he has to be the odds-on favorite to emerge with the title.

However, he’s coming off a serious injury and will be battling the fighter who arguably has the most momentum in all of UFC in Cerrone, who’s won seven straight fights since late 2013.

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Pettis could also buck the odds and sneak into another title shot of his own if an injury or two throws a wrench into those laid-out plans. Based on the UFC’s unfortunate injury track record as of late, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see that happen.

Taking all of that into account, who do you think will be UFC lightweight champion by the end of 2015?

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