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411's MMA Rankings 02.12.13: Featherweight Division
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 02.12.2013






Business is picking up in the featherweight division with lightweights dropping weight to challenge top dog Jose Aldo, but, at least after one fight, their lack of success seems almost guaranteed.

In the first UFC super fight since lightweight champion B.J. Penn was demolished by welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in three years ago, former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar provided a valiant effort by fell short going for 145-pound gold almost two weeks ago. Edgar took Aldo's best attack and was stronger in the middle/later rounds but did not do enough to sway the judges as they scored the fight for the champion. Whether Frankie is intent on battling his way up the division ladder against the likes of The Korean Zombie, Dennis Siver, Dustin Poirier and others, remains to be seen. Still, no matter what he chooses to do, you can bet he'll be one of the toughest fighters to decisively beat.

As for Aldo, his next challenger will be top lightweight contender Anthony "Showtime" Pettis off the heels of his body destroying performance against "Cowboy" Donald Cerrone last month. When these two step foot in the octagon opposite one another, it will be impossible for anything other than fireworks to go off. That's the thing about the lighter weight classes (really, anything below welterweight), regardless of whether they are draws or do big business, you can usually count on them to provide regularly entertaining fights.

With Pettis jumping into the fray, that means The Korean Zombie and Ricardo Lamas are stuck in mud despite both figuring they could fit into the title picture immediately. Despite their unhappiness, odds are they will end up fighting each other with the hope of getting the next title fight later in 2013. Then again, if history tells us anything, perhaps they should be weary of Gray Maynard potentially dropping weight.

In Bellator, champion Pat Curran looked good again as he retained his championship over Patricio "Pitbull" Freire. We assumed Freire would offer up an overly aggressive style in his best efforts to win, but he did not pull that off except for spurts during the five-round battle. If he had, perhaps he could have done enough to win the decision, but it was Curran's technical prowess and effective striking which sealed his first title defense. Plus, after only fighting once in 2012, it's good to see the champion will return to the cage rather quickly. He will make his second defense against Daniel Straus in April, with Straus offering an attack based around wrestling instead of powerful strikes and jiu-jitsu like Pitbull.

To more recent events, this weekend the UFC heads to England for a show on FUEL TV with the interim-bantamweight championship headlining the card. A pair of top ten featherweights will match up with Cub Swanson taking on Dustin Poirier. Both are known for being aggressive in the cage and the winner will emerge as one of the many contenders looking to break away from the herd.

Lastly, I hope you're not eating anything when you scroll down and are inevitably horrified by the sight of Clay Guida's mustache. My apologies.

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Rankings From One Year Ago
03.13.12


1. Jose Aldo

2. Hatsu Hioki

3. Chad Mendes

4. Pat Curran

5. Marlon Sandro

6. Dustin Poirier

7. Chan Sung-Jung

8. Diego Nunes

9. Patricio Freire

10. Erik Koch

11. Mark Hominick

12. Joe Warren

13. Tatsuya Kawajiri

14. Hiroyuki Takaya

15. Bart Palaszewski







411's MMA Ranking Rules

- Which fighters are eligible for these rankings? They must meet the following qualifications: fight at least once in the past 365 days or if they have not, be officially scheduled for an upcoming fight.

- A fighter serving a disciplinary suspension will not be ranked. They can return when they have served their suspension or in the event it is rescinded. This includes fighters who may disregard their suspension locally to fight overseas.

- If a fighter appears on just one single ballot, and in the top ten, five points will be deducted to balance between other fighters who may be ranked lower, but appear on a greater amount of ballots.

- Want to complain about a fighter's ranking in the comments section? Please include an objective reason why you despise the list, and try your best to bring the rest of us to your way of thinking.






411's Official MMA Rankings


Featherweight Division (145 lbs)






1) Jose Aldo (22-1)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: September 9, 1986

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Frankie Edgar - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar - February 2, 2013

- vs. Chad Mendes - Win via KO (knee) - UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes - January 14, 2012

- vs. Kenny Florian - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard 3 - October 8, 2011

- vs. Mark Hominick - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields - April 30, 2011

- vs. Manny Gamburyan - Win via KO (punches) - WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan - September 30, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Anthony Pettis - UFC - August 3, 2013

Comment: Jose Aldo is still the best featherweight in the world in wake off his latest win against Frankie Edgar. Once again, the man was never in a dangerous position to where he could have been finished. Jose was never able to stop Edgar, either, but he built a nice lead for himself taking the first two rounds 10 nights ago.

With the win, Aldo's attention turns to his next challenger, Anthony Pettis. A lightweight who has never cut down to 145-pounds before, Pettis is a striking specialist with some skills on the ground (although he went toe-to-toe with Benson Henderson in 2010, he could not defend Clay Guida's takedowns in 2011). If nothing else, the striking exchanges between these two in August will be a sight to see.




2) Pat Curran (18-4)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: August 31, 1987

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Patricio Freire - Win via decision (split) - Bellator 85 - January 17, 2013

- vs. Joe Warren - Win via KO (strikes) - Bellator 60 - March 9, 2012

- vs. Marlon Sandro - Win via KO (head kick) - Bellator 48 - August 20, 2011

- vs. Ronnie Mann - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 47 - July 23, 2011

- vs. Luis Palomino - Win via submission (Peruvian necktie) - Bellator 46 - June 25, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Daniel Straus - Bellator 95 - April 4, 2013

Comment: Bellator's best 145-pounder opened up their Spike TV era with a decision win over Pitbull Freire, retaining his championship in the process. Although it was a split decision, I would have been surprised if Freire was awarded the win. Curran was able to have success with his striking more than the Brazilian challenger did over the course of the five rounds. Still, a rematch between the two later in the year would not be the worst thing in the world, at least not for fans.

Meanwhile, Curran is next slated to defend his crown against tournament champion Daniel Straus this spring. Straus is a wrestler who bases all of his attacks off that aspect of his game. In addition to this title fight, the next featherweight tournament winner will be decided next Thursday night when Rad Martinez and Shahbulat Shamhalaev fight to determine the season seven victor. That's not all, either, because the current season (eight) field just kicked off their tournament last week, too.




3) Frankie Edgar (15-4-1)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: October 16, 1981

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 6 fights:

- vs. Jose Aldo - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar - February 2, 2013

- vs. Benson Henderson - Loss via decision (split) - UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar - August 11, 2012

- vs. Benson Henderson - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 25, 2012

- vs. Gray Maynard - Win via KO (punches) - UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard 3 - October 8, 2011

- vs. Gray Maynard - DRAW (split) - UFC 125: Resolution - January 1, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Edgar debuted at 145-pounds and honestly did not appear noticeably different in any respect compared to his lightweight days. His stamina was not impacted, his speed was about the same and he did not quit going up against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Although he absorbed some brutal leg kicks early in the fight, by the third round he was looking better than imagined. By the end of the fight, Joe Rogan believed he made it close enough to have a shot at winning, while I had it in Aldo's favor handily 48-47.

Frankie, himself, believed he won the fight and was dejected with the loss, his third in a row. He even made light of his inability to finish Benson Henderson and Aldo, thinking that his performances in decisions were not being noticed by judges. There's a possibility he could drop down to bantamweight in the future, but for now expect him to stick around at 145-pounds and work his way back into the title picture.




4) Ricardo Lamas (13-2)


Height: 5'8

Birthday: May 21, 1982

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Erik Koch - Win via TKO (elbows and punches) - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson - January 26, 2013

- vs. Hatsu Hioki - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on FX: Maynard vs. Guida - June 22, 2012

- vs. Cub Swanson - Win via submission (arm-triangle choke) - UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos - November 12, 2011

- vs. Matt Grice - Win via TKO (head kick) - UFC on Versus: Kongo vs. Barry - June 26, 2011

- vs. Yuri Alcantara - Loss via KO (strikes) - WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis - December 16, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Lamas what not too happy with the Aldo/Pettis announcement last week, figuring that he had done enough to warrant a title fight on the heels of his impressive TKO Win over Erik Koch on Fox. Although not confirmed, all senses point to Lamas fighting The Korean Zombie to decide who gets the post-Pettis featherweight title fight.




5) "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung-Jung (16-3)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: March 17, 1987

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Dustin Poirier - Win via submission (D'arce choke) - UFC on Fuel: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier - May 15, 2012

- vs. Mark Hominick - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida - December 10, 2011

- vs. Leonard Garcia - Win via submission (twister) - UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis - March 26, 2011

- vs. George Roop - Loss via KO (head kick) - WEC 51: Aldo vs. Gamburyan - September 30, 2010

- vs. Leonard Garcia- Loss via decision (split) - WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber - April 24, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: The Korean Zombie's quest for a shot at Jose Aldo will likely have to go through Ricardo Lamas now. Ironically, both men struggled a bit in WEC but have been shining stars since moving to the UFC.




6) Daniel Straus (21-4)


Height: 5'8

Birthday: July 27, 1984

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Alvin Robinson - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Bellator 78 - October 26, 2012

- vs. Marlon Sandro - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 68 - May 11, 2012

- vs. Mike Corey - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 65 - April 13, 2012

- vs. Jeremy Spoon - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 60 - March 9, 2012

- vs. Jason Dent - Win via decision (unanimous) - NAAFS: Caged Fury 15 - October 15, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Pat Curran - Bellator 95 - April 4, 2013

Comment: Straus will now have to end up waiting too long to receive his title shot, although he did have to take a fight against Alvin Robinson last fall.




7) Chad Mendes (13-1)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: May 1, 1985

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Yaotzin Meza - Win via KO (punches) - UFC on FX 6: Sotiropoulos vs. Pearson - December 14, 2012

- vs. Cody McKenzie - Win via KO (body punch) - UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen 2 - July 7, 2012

- vs. Jose Aldo - Loss via KO (knee) - UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes - January 14, 2012

- vs. Rani Yahya - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz - August 6, 2011

- vs. Michihiro Omigawa - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort - February 5, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Clay Guida - UFC on Fox 7: Henderson vs. Melendez - April 20, 2012

Comment: Late Tuesday Update - The UFC announced today that Mendes will fight Clay Guida in April after his opponent for UFC 157 (Manny Gamburyan) was injured. Originally, Mendes was believed to have to wait quite some time for an opportunity to fight, but he'll only have to hold out for two months.




8) Dustin Poirier (13-2)


Height: 5'9

Birthday: January 19, 1989

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Jonathan Brookins - Win via submission (D'arce choke) - UFC TUF 16 Finale - December 15, 2012

- vs. Chan Sung Jung - Loss via submission (D'arce choke) - UFC on Fuel: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier - May 15, 2012

- vs. Max Holloway - Win via submission (mounted triangle armbar) - UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit - February 4, 2012

- vs. Pablo Garza - Win via submission (D'Arce choke) - UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos - November 12, 2011

- vs. Jason Young - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 131: dos Santos vs. Carwin - June 11, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Cub Swanson - UFC on Fuel: Barao vs. McDonald - February 16, 2013





9) Patricio "Pitbull" Freire (17-2)


Height: 5'5

Birthday: July 7, 1987

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Pat Curran - Loss via decision (split) - Bellator 85 - January 17, 2013

- vs. Daniel Straus - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 45 - May 21, 2011

- vs. Wilson Reis - Win via KO (strikes) - Bellator 41 - April 16, 2011

- vs. Georgi Karakhanyan -Win via TKO (strikes) - Bellator 37 - March 19, 2011

- vs. Joe Warren - Loss via decision (split) - Bellator 23 - June 24, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





10) Cub Swanson (18-5)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: November 2, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Charles Oliveira - Win via KO (punch) - UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort - September 22, 2012

- vs. Ross Pearson - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on FX: Maynard vs. Guida - June 22, 2012

- vs. George Roop - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Fox: Evans vs. Davis - January 28, 2012

- vs. Ricardo Lamas - Loss via submission (arm triangle choke) - UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos - November 12, 2011

- vs. Mackens Semerzier - Win via decision (split) - WEC 52: Faber vs. Mizugaki - November 11, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Dustin Poirier - UFC on Fuel: Barao vs. McDonald - February 16, 2013





11) Erik Koch (13-2)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: October 4, 1988

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Ricardo Lamas - Loss via TKO (elbows and punches) - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson - January 26, 2013

- vs. Jonathan Brookins - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC Fight Night: Shields vs. Ellenberger - September 17, 2011

- vs. Raphael Assuncao - Win via KO (punch) - UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones - March 19, 2011

- vs. Francisco Rivera - Win via TKO (head kick & punches) - WEC 52: Faber vs. Mizugaki - November 11, 2010

- vs. Bendy Casimir - Win via submission (triangle choke) - WEC 49: Varner vs. Shalorus - June 20, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Yes, that's Koch after his destruction at the hands of Lamas in January. Ouch!




12) Clay Guida (30-13)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: December 8, 1981

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Hatsu Hioki - Win via decision (split) - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson - January 26, 2013

- vs. Gray Maynard - Loss via decision (split) - UFC on FX: Maynard vs. Guida - June 22, 2012

- vs. Ben Henderson - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos - November 12, 2011

- vs. Anthony Pettis - Win via decision (unanimous) - TUF 13 Finale - June 4, 2011

- vs. Takanori Gomi - Win via submission (Guillotine Choke) - UFC 125: Resolution - January 1, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Chad Mendes - UFC on Fox 7: Henderson vs. Melendez - April 20, 2012

Comment: The Carpenter is back in the 411 MMA Rankings, this time as a featherweight in wake up of his win over Hatsu Hioki. Was it overly exciting? No. But a win over Hioki is still impressive.




13) Tatsuya Kawajiri (32-7-2)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: May 8, 1978

Currently Fighting With: One Fighting Championship

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Michihiro Omigawa - Win via decision (unanimous) - DREAM 18 - December 31, 2012

- vs. Donald Sanchez - Win via submission (triangle choke) - ONE Fighting Championship: War of the Lions - March 21, 2012

- vs. Kazuyuki Miyata - Win via submission (arm triangle choke) - DREAM: Fight For Japan 2011 - December 31, 2011

- vs. Joachim Hansen - Win via submission (arm triangle choke) - DREAM 17 - September 24, 2011

- vs. Drew Fickett - Win via TKO (strikes) - DREAM: Japan GP Final - July 16, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





14) Hatsu Hioki (26-6-2)


Height: 5'11

Birthday: July 18, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Clay Guida - Loss via decision (split) - UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Dodson - January 26, 2013

- vs. Ricardo Lamas - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on FX: Maynard vs. Guida - June 22, 2012

- vs. Bart Palaszewski - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 26, 2012

- vs. George Roop - Win via decision (split) - UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz - October 29, 2011

- vs. Donald Sanchez - Win via submission (triangle choke) - Shooto Tradition 2011 - April 29, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





15) Dennis Siver (21-8)


Birthday: January 13, 1979

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Nam Phan - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz - December 8, 2012

- vs. Diego Nunes - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fuel: Gustafsson vs. Silva - April 14, 2012

- vs. Donald Cerrone - Loss via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz - October 29, 2011

- vs. Matt Wiman - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber - July 2, 2011

- vs. George Sotiropoulos - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 127: Fitch vs. Penn - February 27, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Injured







Final Notes: Rob Peralta and Marlon Sandro received additional votes.





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