With UFC 290 rapidly approaching this coming weekend from the T Mobile Arena, Las Vegas USA it is only natural that these types of conversations begin to circulate in the MMA world. Volkanovski has been on some run since entering the promotion in November of 2016, he has conquered every Featherweight that’s dared to step into the octagon with him. This dominant streak from Volk has catapulted him into the conversation for the greatest Featherweight of all time, here I am gonna rank my top five Featherweights of all time, this is gonna upset people as there is no right or wrong answer, just my opinion. Just for context, this isn’t exclusively a list for UFC fighters, but instead a list for all MMA Featherweights.
#5. Conor McGregor
I went back and forth on this one a few times but ultimately couldn’t leave this man off my list. The biggest star in the history of the sport by some distance, I also think it’s fair to argue that at his peak in the Featherweight division, he could well have been the best we’ve ever seen. In 2015, McGregor won an interim UFC Featherweight title with a TKO over Chad Mendes at UFC 189. Later that year Mcgregor shocked the world when he knocked out Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds to become the undisputed champion. McGregor never defended his belt at Featherweight instead opting to move up a weight class and become the first ever “champ champ” in UFC history.
#4. Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire
There is no denying the fact this man is the best Featherweight outside of the UFC. Pitbull is a three-time Bellator Featherweight champion, with eight title defences and 20 wins in the division. He was also the promotions Lightweight champion before vacating the title in 2021. He holds a whole host of records within Bellator including the most title bouts won, with ten to his name to date. Now I’m aware he hasn’t fought the same calibre of guys that other people on this list would’ve, but for me, with his career achievements and some of the inspiring performances he’s provided over the years, he more than deserves his place on this list.
#3. Max Holloway
For over ten years now the Blessed Express has been a constant threat to every man earning his wage in the Featherweight division. With 25 fights to his name within the division he’s fought just about every name you can think of. After suffering a loss to the aforementioned Conor McGregor in 2013, Holloway won 9 fights in a row and earned his shot at the title. In 2016, he won an interim Featherweight title after defeating former Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis by TKO. He then went on to win undisputed Featherweight gold by defeating Jose Aldo by knockout, he went on to defend his title three times before coming up short against Alexander Volkanovski.
#2. Alexander Volkanovski
Current UFC Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski looks to have all the skills necessary to eventually sit alone at the top of this list. Volkanovski is perfect at Featherweight and still yet to taste defeat in the division after making his debut in November of 2016. His MMA record sits at a ridiculous 25-2 which is pretty much unheard of in a sport with so many different ways to take a loss. On his way to becoming UFC Featherweight champion, he picked up impressive victories against the likes of Darren Elkins, Chad Mendes, and former champion Jose Aldo. At UFC 245, in 2019 Volkanovski won the championship from Max Holloway. Since then he has beaten Max Holloway a further twice, picked up a win against Brian Ortega, and the Korean Zombie before stepping up to Lightweight to face Islam Makhachev for the title where he lost a razor-thin decision to the champion. In my opinion, a win this weekend against Yair in impressive fashion may well be enough to catapult Volk into number one, as the greatest Featherweight of all time.
#1. Jose Aldo
The king of Rio, ‘Junior’ Jose Aldo is the man that I have at the number one spot. His resume as champion makes it hard to have him anywhere else other than the top spot. Aldo won the WEC Featherweight championship in 2009, he defended the title twice before the UFC absorbed the division and Aldo was made the inaugural UFC champion at 145 pounds. As UFC champion, Aldo has the most consecutive title defences in the division’s history with seven. With impressive victories against the likes of Chad Mendes, Chan Sung Jung, and Frankie Edgar. Aldo became interim Featherweight champion after McGregor moved up to Lightweight, it was later promoted to the undisputed title making Aldo a two-time champion. Having recently retired his legacy is set in stone as one of the all-time greats, and as I’ve explained here the greatest Featherweight of all time.