Very like the bantamweight division, there are a number of males that would fairly vie for the highest spot at featherweight for the last decade. Jose Aldo dominated the division with an iron fist for greater than half the last decade… however was it sufficient to say the highest spot? How concerning the man who dethroned him the primary time, Conor McGregor? Or the person who put collectively the report lengthy win streak, Max Holloway. Relying in your foundation of standards, all have authentic claims to the highest spot. If it was pure affect, McGregor would take it, palms down. Whereas that has a component in my standards, I’m putting a far better emphasis on the standard of their preventing capability. Even with that mentioned, there’s all the time room for debate.
1. Max Holloway: Regardless of lately dropping his throne to Alexander Volkanovski, Holloway has the very best mixture of high quality and amount. Blessed received 17 fights total for the last decade, together with 14 in a row inside the division. Holloway was keen to combat at lower than his greatest too, being keen to just accept a contest with Khabib Nurmagomedov regardless of exhibiting concussion-like signs. Did I point out he additionally has wins over high quality opponents like Aldo (twice), Brian Ortega, and Frankie Edgar? That his combat with Ortega is among the greatest contestsThat’s simply the tip of the iceberg.
2. Jose Aldo: I wouldn’t be in any respect shocked if extra individuals consider Aldo deserves the highest spot than Holloway. For a decade, he turned away all comers, methodically selecting them aside whereas sometimes throwing out a spotlight reel end. He had an on the spot traditional with Chad Mendes of their rematch and methodically picked aside a number of different worthy opponents. One-decisions don’t essentially make for memorable contests, however they do assist set up the narrative of dominance… and dominant is one of the best ways to explain Aldo’s five-plus 12 months reign of the featherweight division.
3. Conor McGregor: I’ve little doubt there are a number of McGregor followers who discover it appalling I’d rank him behind a pair of males whom McGregor beat in Holloway and Aldo. Nonetheless, McGregor moved onto different alternatives reasonably than show his dominance at 145. Plus, his win over Holloway got here when Holloway was 21 and much from his peak. Regardless, McGregor’s featherweight run was some of the unbelievable feats seen in MMA historical past, wins over Mendes and Dustin Poirier included in there apart from Holloway and Aldo. If the Infamous one had continued to ply his commerce on the division, he possible would have ultimately turn into the undisputed GOAT at featherweight. Then once more, it’s uncertain he may have continued to make that weight….
4. Alexander Volkanovski: Had Volkanovski made his UFC debut only a bit earlier, we very effectively might be debating whether or not he was the highest featherweight of the last decade. As it’s, he ended it with wins over Aldo and Holloway, claiming possession of the featherweight title. It isn’t simply that he’s undefeated in his UFC run both. None of his contests inside the confines of the Octagon have been significantly aggressive. Maybe just a few extra finishes would assist his trigger, however Volkanovski’s dominance can’t be questioned.
5. Brian Ortega: Given it’s been effectively over a 12 months since we final noticed Ortega in motion, it’s straightforward to overlook how many individuals believed he was going to be the one to dethrone Holloway on the finish of 2018. In any case, not solely had each single one in every of his UFC contests been stopped earlier than the ultimate bell, he tended to take action with dramatic aptitude. 4 consecutive third spherical finishes was adopted by a guillotine end of Cub Swanson that noticed Ortega readjust as he was hanging onto his neck. After that, Ortega turned the primary man to complete Frankie Edgar. Right here’s hoping he hasn’t misplaced a step when he returns.
6. Frankie Edgar: Edgar was by no means capable of seize the featherweight title regardless of a number of alternatives. Nonetheless, very like Urijah Faber, Edgar was an everlasting bridesmaid, going near a decade and not using a loss in a non-title combat, 5 of these years at featherweight. He typically did so in dominant vogue too, scrubbing the mat with the likes of Faber, Mendes, Cub Swanson, and Yair Rodriguez. His days on the high seem like over, having dropped three of his final 4, however that shouldn’t taint his spectacular accomplishments earlier within the decade.
7. Chad Mendes: For a short interval, Mendes was the archrival of Aldo. Following a controversial loss to Aldo of their first encounter – the notorious fence seize by Aldo – Mendes ripped off 5 consecutive wins in dominant vogue, 4 of them finishes. His sophomore effort with Aldo was an on the spot traditional, one which seems to have been forgotten about by many. Mendes could have come up quick, however he proved a worthy adversary for the longtime champion. Mendes’ profession went south shortly thereafter, however he needs to be remembered as a dominant power at his peak.
8. Patricio Frieire: Like most of Bellator’s championship belts, the featherweight title has been handed round like a sizzling potato. The youthful of the Pitbull brothers not solely held it on a number of events throughout the decade (additionally for probably the most mixed days), he additionally has 5 profitable defenses beneath his belt, three greater than anybody else within the historical past of the Bellator featherweight division. At present holding the light-weight title as effectively, Patricio seems to be on the peak of his powers.
9. Cub Swanson: Swanson’s decade was filled with ups and downs, coming thisnear difficult for the UFC title on a few events whereas additionally enduring a few dropping streaks, together with a four-fight dropping streak in the direction of the tip of the last decade. Swanson all the time got here up quick in opposition to the elite of the division, dropping fights to Mendes, Edgar, Ortega, Ricardo Lamas, and Renato Moicano. Nonetheless, when he was in his prime, Swanson was beating nearly everybody else and doing so in an entertaining vogue. Who can overlook his epic slugfest with Doo Ho Choi?
10. Ricardo Lamas: I had a plethora of names going by means of my head for the ultimate spot on the record. I selected Lamas as he managed to remain close to the highest of the division for almost all of decade, dropping solely to the elite like Aldo, Mendes, and Holloway. Alongside the way in which, Lamas additionally managed to drag off some brutal finishes within the course of. Erik Koch and Jason Knight have been by no means the identical after Lamas was completed with them.
Honorable Mentions: Pat Curran, Daniel Straus, Renato Moicano, Chan Sung Jung, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Dustin Poirier.
Curran and Straus struggled to determine dominance because the featherweight champion of Bellator, however got here thisshut to creating the record, Curran particularly. Moicano was on his approach to making the record earlier than stumbling on the finish of the last decade. Jung’s (Korean Zombie) legacy was broken by his navy stint that took three years of his profession, plus a torn ACL. Magomedsharipov remains to be missing a signature win to determine himself as a real elite. Poirier would have made the record had he continued to combat at featherweight. Regardless, he made the proper choice to maneuver to light-weight.
Word: Subsequent in line based mostly on how I’ve been doing the articles could be the ladies’s featherweight division. Nonetheless, given the dearth of viable choices to select from, I received’t be selecting an inventory and shifting on to light-weight division.