The UFC featherweight division is one of the most talent-rich in all of mixed martial arts. One fighter whose skills may be flying under the radar a bit is Dennis Bermudez, who holds the third-longest active winning streak in the UFC right now, behind only Jon Jones and Chris Weidman.
Despite his impressive resume, Bermudez sits at the No. 7 spot in the UFC.com rankings and isn't being mentioned as a viable contender for a title fight.
But that doesn’t mean he isn’t ready for one.
Bermudez made his UFC debut in the finals of the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter, losing by a first-round armbar to Diego Brandao. Brandao has gone 3-3 since the victory, and Bermudez has won all seven of his subsequent contests, proving that he is deserving of a title fight.
When you look at the list of contenders currently “in the mix” for a title shot, you’ll see names like Cub Swanson, Frankie Edgar and the current No. 1 contender, Chad Mendes. Conor McGregor has recently forced his way into the conversation with his skills on the mic and three victories inside the Octagon.
Swanson has more than earned a title fight against the winner of Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes at UFC 179. He’s currently on a six-fight streak with wins over Dustin Poirier, Ross Pearson, Dennis Siver and, most recently, Jeremy Stephens.
Edgar has been on the shelf due to his coaching stint on TUF 19 opposite BJ Penn, and he dominated the former two-division champion on his way to a third-round TKO over “The Prodigy” at the season's finale. His only other win at 145 pounds was against Charles Oliveira in July of last year.
Though he’s a former champion who is still an elite fighter, Edgar doesn’t have the multitude of victories that Swanson and Bermudez have.
McGregor is the fighter who may end up with the fastest track to a title shot. He’s the Pride of Ireland and is on his way to becoming perhaps the UFC’s biggest star below 170 pounds. He talks the talk and walks the walk, but his three wins don’t measure up against the resume of Dennis Bermudez either.
Bermudez put his name on the map with his “Fight of the Year” candidate against Matt Grice at UFC 157 in March of 2013. It was a back-and-forth battle where both men got dropped and came back swinging.
After that, he racked up wins against very durable and skilled fighters in Max Hollaway, Steven Siler and Jimy Hettes. His most recent victory is by far his most impressive and proved that he is an elite fighter at featherweight.
At UFC on Fox 12 last month, Bermudez choked out Clay Guida in the second round. Guida is a 46-fight and 11-year veteran of the sport and has faced the best fighters in the world for most of his career.
There is a bit of a backlog at the top of the division, but Bermudez has been quietly scooping up the wins he needs to insert his name in the conversation.
He’s done just that and has shown that he is ready for a title shot. His win over Guida vaulted him up five spots in the official rankings and put him in the Top 10.
Bermudez will most likely need to knock off a few more contenders before he gets his shot at Aldo, or whomever the champion may be when the time comes. He’s well on his way with his impressive winning streak, and hopefully he’ll get his championship opportunity sooner rather than later.