UFC Featherweight Division: Tracking Former Lightweights' Success at 145

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2012

UFC Featherweight Division: Tracking Former Lightweights' Success at 145

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    It was recently announced that Frankie Edgar has decided to finally drop to featherweight following a failure to recapture his lightweight title in an immediate rematch. 

    With his departure to 145 pounds, Edgar joins a number of former UFC lightweights in his quest in the featherweight division. Most have seen success, but how much?

    Here is a look at the former UFC lightweights who have dropped to the featherweight division.

    Note: Only fighters who have dropped since the WEC merger were considered (i.e. Leonard Garcia will not be included)

Tyson Griffin

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    Wins in the division: Manvel Gamburyan

    Losses in the division: Bart Palaszewski

    Current status: Out of the UFC

    Tyson Griffin used to be a guy nobody wanted to fight in the lightweight division, but when times got tough and he lost a couple fights, he opted to drop to 145.

    The weight cut looked tough on Griffin, who looked awful in both fights at 145. He won a lackluster decision over Manvel Gamburyan and was brutally knocked out against Bart Palaszewski, a fight in which he came in overweight.

    Griffin is now signed with Resurrection Fighting Alliance and will make his debut soon.

Darren Elkins

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    Wins in the division: Michihiro Omigawa, Tiequan Zhang, Diego Brandao

    Losses in the division: None

    Current status: Middle of the pack

    Darren Elkins' drop to featherweight has been a great decision thus far, as he has looked solid in the early going. He has not fought anybody considered elite yet, but nonetheless he has been impressive.

    With his relentless wrestling attack and newfound size, Elkins is tough for anybody to handle. He is still currently awaiting his next opponent.

Cody McKenzie

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    Wins in the division: None

    Losses in the division: Chad Mendes

    Current status: Bottom of the division

    Cody McKenzie found himself lost in the lightweight division, going 2-2 against mid-to-lower tier fighters. Though tough to deal with for any opponent, McKenzie just couldn't advance up the ladder.

    Now at featherweight, McKenzie looks to get back on the right track since dropping his debut to Chad Mendes. He is without an opponent right now, but fans are eagerly awaiting the return of the master of the "McKenzitine."

Eiji Mitsuoka

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    Wins in the division: None

    Losses in the division: Nik Lentz

    Current status: Bottom of the division

    Eiji Mitsuoka is a tough customer in any fight, but he dropped to 145 after a tough loss to Takanori Gomi. His drop to featherweight was no luckier for the Japanese fighter, as he was put away dominantly by Nik Lentz.

    Mitsuoka has no scheduled opponent at this time, but it is do or die for him. If he can't get a victory, he will likely be out of a job.

Nik Lentz

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    Wins in the division: Eiji Mitsuoka

    Losses in the division: None

    Current status: Middle of the pack

    Only one fight into his featherweight tenure, it looks like Nik Lentz has already made the right decision. In his debut at 145, Lentz completely dominated Eiji Mitsuoka from the opening bell until he earned the stoppage.

    Lentz looks to have a strength advantage over most he will step in the cage with. Couple that with his dominant wrestling and improved striking and we could have a future contender on our hands.

Cole Miller

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    Wins in the division: None

    Losses in the division: Steven Siler, Nam Phan

    Current status: Bottom looking up

    A former force at lightweight, Cole Miller decided to give featherweight a chance, despite winning his last bout at 155. Miller looked as if he could be a stud at 145, due to his size, grappling ability and reach.

    So far, it has not gone how Miller would have liked. He failed to avenge his brother's loss to Steven Siler and was edged by the much smaller Nam Phan in his last fight.

    If he opts to stay in the division, he will need to win or he could be out of a job.

Jonathan Brookins

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    Wins in the division: Vagner Rocha

    Losses in the division: Erik Koch, Charles Oliveira

    Current status: Lower-mid tier

    I wasn't going to consider any Ultimate Fighter contestants on this list because most fight up a weight class on the show for cutting purposes, but Jonathan Brookins was the winner of the show and needs to be considered.

    After winning the show at 155, Brookins faced a setback in his re-emergence at featherweight against Erik Koch. He would rebound with a knockout over Vagner Rocha, before being submitted by Charles Oliveira in his latest outing.

    Brookins has no scheduled opponent at this time, but he needs a win to stay relevant. 

Dennis Siver

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    Wins in the division: Diego Nunes

    Losses in the division: None

    Current status: Top Ten

    Dennis Siver is young in his featherweight journey, but he has already proven to be a top fighter in the division. The German kickboxer looked impressive in his first featherweight outing, topping a very tough Diego Nunes at UFC on Fuel in Sweden.

    Siver's size, takedown defense and striking have proven to be key in his weight cut. Siver was a player at lightweight, so he may be higher in the pecking order at featherweight.

    He is currently scheduled to meet Eddie Yagin at UFC 151 in what should be an exciting striking affair.

Charles Oliveira

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    Wins in the division: Eric Wisely, Jonathan Brookins

    Losses in the division: None

    Current status: Just outside the top ten

    Charles Oliveira saw some success at lightweight, but couldn't seem to crack the upper level of the division. It looked like he didn't cut any weight, so his drop to featherweight was a smart move.

    Since his drop, Oliveira has been dominant in his two fights. He has pulled off two impressive submission wins, he has beat Eric Wisely with a calf slicer and Jonathan Brookins with an anaconda choke.

    UFC 152 is home to his next fight, where he fights fellow featherweight player Cub Swanson in an attempt to crack the top ten. That fight should be a good one. 

Frank Edgar

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    Wins in the division: None

    Losses in the division: None

    Current status: Contender

    That's right, despite having no fights at featherweight yet, Frank Edgar is a contender. I would definitely not give him a title shot right away, but he should be in a No. 1 contender fight in his debut.

    The former lightweight champion cut little to no weight when he was a lightweight. Imagine him 10 pounds lighter and he could be the next two-division champion.

    I suggest a bout with Chan-Sung Jung aka the Korean Zombie. The winner of that fight would face the winner of Jose Aldo-Erik Koch in the next defense of the belt.