Hatsu Hioki may have walked away with the victory in his UFC 137 bout with George Roop, but it was far from impressive.
The proposed No. 2 featherweight in the world took a highly-contested split decision over Roop in the opening bout of the main card.
Since signing with the UFC, Hioki has been touted as one of the few featherweights to potentially challenge UFC featherweight champion and pound-for-pound standout Jose Aldo.
Needless to say, Hioki's performance would have to improve leaps and bounds, if he ever hopes to dethrone Aldo.
As far as the featherweight rankings are concerned, Chad "Money" Mendes should get the nod over Hioki in the No. 2 spot.
Carrying a perfect record, Mendes has been virtually dominant throughout his entire MMA career. He has defeated a multitude of tough opposition including Michihiro Omigawa, Javier Vasquez, Cub Swanson and Rani Yahya.
The bout against Omigawa is particularly significant, considering Omigawa defeated Hioki a little over a year ago.
While Mendes should be ranked higher, Hioki deserves a little leeway for a lackluster performance. Roop is a better fighter than most credit him for being, and this was Hioki's first time fighting in the UFC.
There is something to be said about the "UFC jitters." Fighters tend to freeze up or underperform when they step inside the octagon.
Hioki still needs a fight or two before a final grade can be handed down to his UFC arrival.
Still, it's hard not to be disappointed by the former Sengoku featherweight champion's UFC debut. It'll be interesting to see how he matches up against the upper-echelon fighters in the featherweight division.
Until then, fans would best be served putting their money on Mendes.
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