B/R Official Rankings for August: Top 10 Featherweights in MMA
July was a pretty quiet month for the featherweight division, as only two featherweight bouts found their way on the three cards the UFC put on. In addition to that, other top organizations such as Bellator, Strikeforce, One FC and Dream did not feature 145-pounders.
Chad Mendes earned a victory at UFC 148 this month, as well as Antonio Carvalho at UFC 149. Only one man in the top 10 fought this month, proving the landscape has not made many significant changes.
These is the official rankings of the featherweight division for August 2012.
These rankings are the combined efforts of some of Bleacher Report MMA's best writers, as we continue to try and provide you with the best content on the web.
10. Tatsuya Kawajiri
Promotion: One FC/Dream
Most Recent Fight: submission win over Donald Sanchez at One FC 3: War of the Lions
Next Fight: TBD
Previous Ranking: N/A
One of just two non-UFC featherweights to crack the top 10, Tatsuya Kawajiri has been nothing less than impressive since dropping from lightweight to featherweight.
Since his drop to 145, Kawajiri has submitted Joachim Hansen, Kazuyuki Miyata and Donald Sanchez. He has proven lately that he can do more than ground and pound his opponents to achieve victory.
Kawajiri is currently fighting for budding Asian promotion One FC, who has been putting together some nice cards of late. Maybe they can bring a top featherweight into the promotion to really test "The Crusher" and his strong all-around game.
9. Hatsu Hioki
Most Recent Fight: decision loss to Ricardo Lamas at UFC on FX 4
Next Fight: TBD
Previous Ranking: eighth
Hatsu Hioki was considered by many to be a top-three featherweight in the world not long ago, but his tenure in the UFC, so far, has been less than compelling.
Hioki entered the UFC and faced a solid test in George Roop. The Japanese grappler won a razor-thin decision over the American striker, which did not earn him the title shot everyone thought he would gain.
He then fought in his home country and won an easy decision over Bart Palaszewski. That is where things got interesting.
Hioki could have cashed in those two wins to fight Jose Aldo for the featherweight title. He, instead, decided to take one more tune-up fight against Ricardo Lamas, where he lost by decision, effectively killing his title hopes for now.
Hioki needs to bounce back impressively in his next outing, or his hype will be completely lost. He may want to make it an impressive win as well.
8. Dennis Siver
Most Recent Fight: decision win over Diego Nunes at UFC on Fuel 2
Next Fight: vs. Eddie Yagin at UFC 151 on September 1
Previous Ranking: ninth
Former lightweight Dennis Siver has only fought once at 145 pounds, but he looked very impressive in doing so.
Siver's decision to drop to featherweight came on the heels of an absolute domination against Donald Cerrone, where Siver was choked out cold. The cut has seemed to work for Siver, who bounced back with a good-looking decision win over Diego Nunes in his 145-pound debut.
With Siver's striking and improving ground game, one can only imagine how high up the ladder he can climb. But, he must get past Eddie Yagin next month at UFC 151, who is a solid striker himself.
7. Dustin Poirier
Most Recent Fight: submission loss to Chan Sung Jung at UFC on Fuel 3
Next Fight: TBD
Previous Ranking: sixth
Dustin Poirer has proven in his UFC tenure that he's a diamond in the rough (pun intended). Despite a slip up in his latest battle against Chan Sung Jung, Poirier's stock didn't fall much due to the fact Jung has looked just that good.
Previous to that loss, Poirier was on a great run since transferring over from the WEC. He pulled off flashy submission wins over Max Holloway (mounted triangle armbar) and Pablo Garza (d'arce choke). In addition to that, he also won by decision against Jason Young and Josh Grispi.
Poirier's boxing and jiu-jitsu are both above average, which makes him a tough out for anyone. He has no opponent yet, but I would love to see him fight Erik Koch in his next fight, as it would be a barnburner.
6. Ricardo Lamas
Most Recent Fight: decision win over Hatsu Hioki at UFC on FX 4
Next Fight: TBD
Previous Ranking: seventh
Ricardo Lamas has made a big splash in the UFC thus far, running through the opposition thus far. The Chicago-area representative has shown his refined game, which has progressed since his days in the WEC.
Lamas opened up his UFC tenure with a knockout win over Matt Grice. He followed that up with a submission win over Cub Swanson. His marquee victory came in his latest bout, where he won a decision over top contender Hatsu Hioki.
With Lamas' wrestling and improved striking, he's going to continue to make waves in the featherweight division. He's extremely underrated and overlooked, considering the strength of his resume.
5. Erik Koch
Most Recent Fight: decision win over Jonathan Brookins at UFC Fight Night 25
Next Fight: vs. Jose Aldo at UFC 153 on October 13
Previous Ranking: fifth
The UFC's top contender at 145 pounds is Erik Koch, who is readying himself for a title fight in October. He will be heading into hostile territory, as he will be in Brazil, home of the champion Jose Aldo.
Koch is just one of the handful of fighters who have been representing Duke Roufus well over the last couple years. His UFC wins, so far, have come over the likes of Raphael Assuncao and Jonathan Brookins. Previous to that, he had won two in a row in the WEC.
Koch has a ton of potential to be great. He will have a chance to prove he's the best when his fight with Aldo goes down. He will need to bring everything he's got.
4. Pat Curran
Most Recent Fight: knockout win over Joe Warren at Bellator 73
Next Fight: vs. Patricio Freire at Bellator on August 24
Previous Ranking: fourth
The highest-ranked, non-UFC featherweight in the world is Pat Curran—the champion of Bellator. The newly minted champion has proven he's a dangerous fighter, as he has transformed from a wrestler to mixed martial artist.
Curran has been on an amazing run since falling to Eddie Alvarez in a lightweight title bout in early 2011. He ran through the Bellator featherweight tournament, knocking off Luis Palomino, Ronnie Mann and Marlon Sandro along the way. He, then, knocked Joe Warren into another universe to capture the Bellator strap.
Curran is set to face another dangerous featherweight in Patricio Freire very soon. It will be a big test on Curran, who needs to get to the UFC as soon as possible, in my opinion.
3. Chan Sung Jung
Most Recent Fight: submission win over Dustin Poirier at UFC on Fuel 3
Next Fight: TBD
Previous Ranking: third
Chan Sung Jung may be the hottest featherweight in the world right now. On the heels of two insane finishes and another impressive finish in his last three fights, many consider Jung to be the real top contender in the featherweight division.
Since entering the UFC, Jung has been marvelous. He submitted Leonard Garcia with a twister, knocked out Mark Hominick in seven seconds and put Dustin Poirier to sleep with a beautiful d'arce choke.
Jung has proven to be extremely well-rounded and tough. With his chin, striking and underrated ground game, he may provide a legitimate threat to Jose Aldo's crown.
2. Chad Mendes
Most Recent Fight: knockout win over Cody McKenzie at UFC 148
Next Fight: TBD
Previous Ranking: second
Chad Mendes is still a top featherweight in the world, despite getting manhandled by Jose Aldo. His wrestling is great, and his boxing is improving.
He has recovered since his loss to Aldo. He knocked out Cody McKenzie quickly at UFC 148, helping to ease the pain of losing his title aspirations.
Previous to the Aldo loss, he earned decision wins over Michihiro Omigawa and Rani Yahya. Unfortunately, he has bigger fish to fry now that he was allegedly involved in a bar fight in California for which he's wanted for questioning (via the Hanford Sentinel).
1. Jose Aldo
Most Recent Fight: knockout win over Chad Mendes at UFC 142
Next Fight: vs. Erik Koch at UFC 153 on October 13
Previous Ranking: first
The UFC king of the featherweight division is not only the top featherweight in the world, but among the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. He has basically cleaned out the division and could move up to lightweight now that the weight cut seems to be getting harder for him.
Aldo hasn't lost since 2005 and has been scary in the WEC and UFC. Since transferring to the UFC, Aldo has has won decisions against Mark Hominick and Kenny Florian, as well as a knockout over Chad Mendes in his last defense.
He now has Erik Koch on deck for UFC 153. Expect to see an exciting striking battle as Aldo continues his dominant reign.
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