Jose Aldo performs a backflip off the cage after his fight against Kenny Florian at UFC 136 on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
With so many fights coming up spread across eight different weight classes, it's easy to lose track of what's happening in every division. Here, we take a look at where a particular division stands right now, and where it's headed.
At UFC On Fuel TV 3 this Tuesday, Featherweights take center stage with the Dustin Poirier vs. Korean Zombie main event. Last week, the Featherweights were also in the news with the announcement of Jose Aldo's next title defense against Erik Koch at UFC 149. But outside of those two fights, the division remains in a growing state with a lot of fights on the horizon, but not a lot of potential contenders breaking out. Let's take a look at everything coming up at 145 and see what the future might hold.
Next in Line: #1 Jose Aldo vs. #9 Erik Koch (UFC 149, July 21)
As the next title fight, this one is a bit of a head scratcher. Originally, Koch was slated to fight Dustin Poirier for an assumed #1 contender status, but Koch went down to injury. Now, Poirier is fighting the much higher profile Korean Zombie, while Koch is returning from a near year long absence and being thrust into the title picture. With his last win coming against Jonathan Brookins, it's hard to see Koch as worthy of the shot right now. A win for him would be a near Serra vs. GSP level of upset.
More in the full article.
Key Match Ups:
Here's where the relative shallow-ness of the division comes through. There are a lot of fights on deck, but where are the possible title challengers? This week's Poirier vs. Jung fight should determine the next challenger. And if Hatsu Hioki wins, everyone thinks he could be next up. Everyone that is except for Hatsu Hioki, who keeps wanting to wait until he's comfortable to fight Aldo. Let's hope he doesn't blow his chance.
- #6 Dustin Poirier vs. #11 Chan Sung Jung (UFC on Fuel TV, May 15)
- #2 Hatsu Hioki vs. #21 Ricardo Lamas (UFC on FX, June 22)
Other Notable Fights:
These five match-ups all feature fighters who, for one reason or another, are names in the division. Three are TUF winners, Hettes is coming in off a big win, and Garcia is Garcia. Depending how these fights go, all of these winners could move into a real high profile fight next time out.
- Diego Brandao vs. #22 Darren Elkins (UFC 146, May 26)
- Leonard Garcia vs. Matt Grice (UFC on FX, June 8)
- Jonathan Brookins vs. Charles Oliveira (TUF Live Finale, June 1)
- #24 Ross Pearson vs. Cub Swanson (UFC on FX, June 22)
- Jimy Hettes vs. Steven Siler (UFC on FX, June 22)
Waiting in the Wings:
There's a lot of top 10 Featherweight talent currently awaiting their next fight. Of these men, only Siver seems like a possible future title challenger, and even that feels like a bit of a stretch. Not sure if Florian will return to Featherweight - if he does, he's got a long road back to the title, as does Mendes.
All the Rest:
And finally, every other upcoming Featherweight fight.
- Mike Brown vs. Daniel Pineda (UFC 146, May 26)
- Max Holloway vs. Pat Schilling (TUF Live Finale, June 1)
- Milton Vieira vs. Felipe Arantes (UFC 147, June 23)
- #16 Yuri Alacantra vs. Hacran Dias (UFC 147, June 23)
- TUF Brazil Featherweight Final (UFC 147, June 23)
- George Roop vs. Antonio Carvalho (UFC 149, July 21)
Rankings based on the USA Today / SB Nation consensus rankings, dated April 26, 2012.
After Aldo vs. Koch, who will be the next Featherweight title challenger?
Dustin Poirier (432 votes)
Korean Zombie (338 votes)
Hatsu Hioki (241 votes)
Other (27 votes)
1038 total votes