The featherweight division was always renowned for its excitement, but the future has never been brighter for the 145lb division as eight of the top ten fighters are under 30 years old. That constitutes two 23-year olds, two 24-year olds, two 25 year olds, plus 26 and 28.
Lead by the jaw-dropping Jose Aldo, featherweight is talent rich and primed for a slew of marquee match-ups in the next few years.
Diego Nunes and Bart Palaszewski drop from the top 10 due to recent losses. Poirier jumps Freire in light of recent fights and finishes. German kickboxing specialist enters the top 10 after a successful featherweight debut.
1. Jose Aldo
Only 25-years old, the Brazilian powerhouse is already well on his way to carving his name out as the greatest best sub-155lb fighter in the history of the sport.
2. Chad Mendes
Many knocked Mendes from the #2 position after losing to Aldo, but his dominant undefeated run before challenging the champion still holds up as one of the best tears in past years.
3. Pat Curran
With two impressive knockouts in a row over top-ranked competition, the Bellator champion is making a name for himself as possibly the best featherweight in the world outside of Jose Aldo.
4. Hatsu Hioki
His decision victory over Bart Palaszewski at UFC 144 was more impressive than his US debut, but the Japanese standout would probably benefit from some more development before challenging the likes of Jose Aldo.
5. Marlon Sandro
Since his loss to Curran last year, Sandro has reeled off three straight victories to reaffirm his place as one of the world’s best.
6. Dustin Poirier
23-year old striker Poirier has 4-0 since dropping down to featherweight and has finished his last two opponents via submission. If he gets past fellow ranked fighter Chan Sung Jung in the headliner at UFC on Fuel TV 3, buzz suggests he’ll be tabbed to face Aldo at UFC 149.
7. Patricio Freire
Another dynamic Brazilian, 24-year old Freire holds an impressive 17-1 record with his only loss coming via split-decision in 2010 to to Joe Warren. He will now get a shot at Bellator champion Pat Curran.
8. Erik Koch
Koch was scheduled to face fellow 23-year old phenom Poirier before pulling out with an injury. Koch’s only loss is to #2 Mendes and his striking pedigree is as good as anyone’s in the top 10.
9. Chan Sung Jung
Aside from getting caught by a George Roop headkick, 25-year old “The Korean Zombie” has captivated fight fans with fight night bonuses against Leonard Garcia (x2) and former title-challenger Mark Hominick.
10. Dennis Siver
Former lightweight standout Siver made an immediate impact at featherweight by dropping down and taking a close decision over previously 8th ranked Diego Nunes.