Featherweight – December 2011
The featherweight division in MMA is much like the middleweight division in that you have a crowned champion who is head and shoulders above the competition, but the difference is that the featherweight division is much more stacked with talent. The similarities lie in their champions and how skilled they compared to the rest of the world. An exciting division with a lot of young prospects is the exact way you would sum up the featherweights. They are always fun to watch compete due to the high pace and constant action they bring to the table.
1. Jose Aldo, Jr – Along with LW Champ Frankie Edgar, Jose Aldo, Jr. again affirmed his place among the world’s best FW fighters. Aldo outworked Kenny Florian for all 5 grueling rounds to earn the decision victory at UFC 136. We’ll next see Aldo face off with #2 on our list Chad “Money” Mendes, at UFC 142 in Brazil next January.
2. Chad Mendes – Undefeated in his MMA career, “Money” is currently pegged as the guy who will hold down Jose Aldo Jr. and beat him out of his UFC title. An All-American and Pac-10 wrestler of the Year at Cal Poly, Mendes trains with Team Alpha Male where he continues to round out his overall game. We’ll see if his wrestling can overcome the superior striking of Aldo at UFC 142 in January.
3. Hatsu Hioki – Having just made his US and UFC debut last weekend at UFC 137, and capped things off with a SD victory over a very tough George Roop. Hioki is a huge star in Japan from his days fighting in the Shooto organization and as suspected, it’s been announced that he will square off with heavy-handed Bart Palaszewski at UFC 144 in the Land of the Rising Sun. This one has “barn burner” written all over it!
4. Mark Hominick – In his last outing Mark Hominick showed why he’s nicknamed “the Machine” when he delivered some serious ground and pound to the current Champ Aldo in the 5th and final round after taking a beating from Aldo for 20 minutes in an amazing fight. Mark has taken some time off to recover and is set to face off with “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung at UFC 140 on Dec 10th, in what is sure to be a FOTN candidate.
5. Erik Koch – “New Breed” is certainly making his name known as he works his way up the FW ladder, having defeated TUF Winner Jonathan Brookins in September. His only career loss is to current title challenger Mendes in a fight that saw the younger Koch just outmuscled and held on the ground. It’s been announced that Koch will square off with f
ellow fast rising prospect Dustin “the Diamond” Poirer at UFC 143, where a decisive victory could quickly lead to a title shot.
6. Dustin Poirer – At just 22 years old “The Diamond” made a big splash in his UFC debut on New Year’s Day, with his destruction of then #1 contender Josh Grispi (who’s since fallen off the map) at UFC 125, and followed up with a strong performance against Jason Young at UFC 131 in June and most recently scored a D’arce choke on “The Scarecrow” Pablo Garza at the UFC on FOX 1 event Nov 12th. Up next for the “Diamond” is a “New Breed” of fighter in Eric Koch, and the two are set to face-off in February in what is sure to be a fight to determine the next title contender after Mendes/Aldo in January.
7. Pat Curran – In August Bellator tournament standout Pat “Paddy Mike” Curran KO’d the former Sengoku FW Champ Marlon Sandro to become the first person to win two different Bellator tournaments in two separate weight classes. We recently found out that “Paddy Mike” will get his shot at current Bellator FW Champ “The Baddest Man on the Planet” Joe Warren in February.
8. Diego Nunes – Having lost his most recent outing against Kenny Florian back in June, Diego “The Gun” Nunes will try to shoot his way back into the top-5 FWs when he faces off with Manny “the Anvil” Gamburyan on UFC 141 on December 30th. This was a bout originally slated for UFC 135 in September but both fighters ultimately pulled out due to injuries.
9. Joe Warren – “The Baddest Man on the Planet” was most recently found unconscious at the end of an Alexis Villa overhand-left in the first round of the Bellator 51 BW Tourney Quarterfinals back in September. Nonetheless he remains the Bellator FW champ and #9 among the world’s best FW. Warren will attempt to return to the win column while defending his title against Pat Curran in February.
10. Chan-Sung Jung – “The Korean Zombie” made Eddie Bravo proud when he pulled off the first ever submission by way of the Twister technique in pro MMA history in his rematch with “Bad Boy” Leonard Garcia this March at UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis. “The Korean Zombie” returns to the Octagon on December 10th to face off with #4 Mark Hominick in what will likely be an exciting stand-up battle.
Up Next: Bantamweight