07 Jan The Emergence Of The UFC Featherweight Division
Going under the radar at the minute is the UFC featherweight division. Since the Jose Aldo era finished when Conor McGregor brutally ended his 10-year unbeaten run, the division has stagnated somewhat. But all of a sudden the featherweight ranks have come alive again, with a new wave of talent coming through.
The champion, Max Holloway, is one of the best around today, a P4P contender, and his best years are ahead of him. However, if he is to rival Aldo for longevity he faces some serious challenges through 2018 and beyond.
Aldo will either move up to lightweight or more likely leave the UFC altogether for pastures new, which will leave the door open for the rest to make their mark.
Frankie Edgar, a perennial contender, will get what will surely be his last chance of another UFC title sometime this year, but the young guns are lying in wait for their crack at UFC gold.
The unbeaten Brain Ortega fresh from his big win over Cub Swanson will prove himself a formidable foe when Holloway defends his belt against the 26-year-old Ortega, which will surely happen sooner rather than later. Josh Emmett, if he can iron out the weight making issue which tainted his win over Ricardo Lamas, is another who can have a big say in who will finish the year wearing the UFC belt around his waist.
Despite being pushed too soon against Edgar, Yair Rodriguez is one to watch, and the same could be said of Doo Ho Choi, who faces a serious test of his credentials when he faces Jeremy Stephens on January 14th. Myles Jury will surely rise from his current lowly 14th ranking also.
All in all the next 12 months will see some cracking fights in a division which is often overlooked, and as talented as Holloway is, predicting that he will still be champion in a years time would be a risky move.
C Max Holloway 19-3-0
1 Jose Aldo 26-4-0
2 Frankie Edgar 21-5-1
3 Brian Ortega 13-0-0
4 Josh Emmett 13-1-0
5 Cub Swanson 25-8-0
6 Ricardo Lamas 18-6-0
7 Chan Sung Jung 14-4-0
8 Yair Rodriguez 11-2-0
9 Jeremy Stephens 26-14-0
10 Darren Elkins 24-5-0
11 Dennis Bermudez 17-7-0
12 Renato Moicano 11-1-1
13 Dooho Choi 14-2-0
14 Myles Jury 17-2-0
15 Mirsad Bektic 11-1-0