Nurmagomedov and Makhachev are the current champs.
Nurmagomedov will be defending his LW title in the Bellator 8-man GP in 2023 and the field could include Alvarez, Bendo, Barnaoui, Patricky, Musayev, Shabliy, McKee, Primus, Bak etc… and he would have to defend the title 3x successfully to be champ on 1/1/2024.
Makhachev is defending in March vs Volkanovski and one actual LW should be getting a title shot vs the winner in the fall. Dariush might need to get another W and move to 9-0 to get a title shot, Dustin is 0-2 in title shots but coming off the Conor and Chandler wins he is up there for a shot. 12-1 Fiziev is coming off the RDA win and has a 6 fight win streak. Oliveira of course just lost the title but is still 11-1 in his last 12.
The race to the fall title shot looks to be between Dariush, Oliveira, Fiziev and Dustin.
3-2 in his last five Gaethje and 2-3 in his last five Chandler are both highly unlikely to see a title shot without building a few meaningful wins in a row. Conor is 2-3 in his last five and likely returning at WW.
There should be two LW title fights in the UFC in 2023 and three in Bellator. It will be very interesting to see who beyond Volkanovski gets title shots this upcoming year and lets see if the Eagle/AKA fighters can go 5-0 in title defenses.
I’m predicting Makhachev will still be UFC LW champ on 1/1/2024 but I think Barnaoui will upset Usman in the LW GP at some point and win the whole thing and be LW and GP champ on 1/1/2024.