The UFC Featherweight division is my favorite division to watch card in and card out. There is a great champion, established veterans, rising stars, and tons of young prospects. The division does come with plenty of controversy, when it comes to forming the line for title shots. Now that All time great, Anderson Silva has been knocked off his perch as the Middleweight king, are we going to see the type of near chaos at the weight that helps make the Featherweight division so interesting.
Some of the biggest controversy at Featherweight has been Lightweight contenders dropping weight and receive quick, and immediate title shots. Kenny Florian received a title shot after one featherweight victory, while Frankie Edgar, and then Anthony Pettis were not even asked to fight at the weight before receiving a title shot. Who might play this part from the UFC LHW division? Speculation is that Former LHW Champions Lyoto Machida, and Rashad Evans can make the cut to MW, and could be much more likely to do so now that Anderson Silva isn't there. Machida and Silva are good friends, and never would have fought. Rashad Evans weighed the options of the weight cut, and fighting Anderson Silva but decided to stay at LHW. While he might be able to earn a title shot at LHW, as long as Jon Jones is still the champ, I think it is very clear Rashad likely is not getting a title shot or winning the title anytime soon. Moving to MW would put him at the front of the line, and could even earn him an immediate shot without having to work his way through a group of young and hungry contenders. This option, against a champion in Weidman who Rashad likely thinks he can beat might be very appealing to a fighter like Rashad who would love one more shot at UFC gold. Add into the mix former Strikeforce Champion Gregard Mousasi, who has already announced that he is looking at returning to Middleweight at the end of the year when he returns from injury, and you have another instantly viable contender for Weidman's crown.
If these fighters all do decide to drop to Middleweight, then who is going to be getting bumped out of the way? Interesting contenders such as Vitor Belfort, Jacare Souza, and even Michael Bisping could get bumped out of the way for higher profile fights just as guys like Ricardo Lamas, and Chan Sung Jung did at Featherweight.
Another fighter who is in a tough spot is Mark Munoz. Munoz was destroyed by Weidman recently, but rebounded with a convincing victory over Tim Boetsch this weekend. Similarly, Cub Swanson at Featherweight was wiped out by Jose Aldo back in their WEC days which should be an ancient memory at this point, as both fighters have continued to evolve since that fight. If almost any other fighter had the same 5 fight winning streak as Swanson does right now, they would have a title shot lined up and everyone would be very excited about the prospects. Munoz is in a tough spot, because the memory of him not even being competitive with Weidman is going to linger in the minds of many people.