Top 10 Featherweight Rankings

nullIt’s Wednesday night, which means another edition of my top 10 rankings.

The featherweights get the spotlight this week, headlined by UFC king, Jose Aldo.

So, without further ado, here is my top 10.

(If you need to go back and find my pound-for-pound, heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight or lightweight rankings, click on the links)

1. Jose Aldo (19-1) – Aldo is one of the top strikers in all of MMA as his leg kicks are one of the most devastating strikes in the game. Aldo struggled toward the end of his win over Mark Hominick at UFC 129, but it was later discovered he was dealing with an infection leading up to the fight. Still, Aldo found a way to beat up Hominick for four rounds and retain his title.

2. Chad Mendes (10-0) – The protégé of Urijah Faber is unbeaten in his MMA career and he continues to develop his striking to go along with his overpowering wrestling. Mendes is set to take on Aldo for the title later this year, but the memory of seeing Faber get blasted in the leg by Aldo may haunt him heading into the fight. Mendes appears to posses the ability to take Aldo to the ground. But, the question is, what will Mendes be able to do to Aldo when the fight hits the ground and can he hold the champ down for 25 minutes?

3. Kenny Florian (13-5) – Florian has yet to fight at 145 pounds, but I still consider him one of the best now that he is jumping into the mix. Florian has only suffered losses to some of the best at 155 pounds and his style should pose a lot of problems for the top featherweights in the UFC. He begins his march towards a title against Diego Nunes at UFC 131, and a win will likely make him the No. 1 contender to the featherweight title later in 2011.

4. Hatsu Hioki (24-4-2) – Hioki is the Shooto and Sengoku champion, but it is hard to gauge where he stacks up against the best in the states. He did lose back in 2009 to Michihiro Omigawa by split decision. Omigawa was recently dominated by Mendes in the octagon. Still, Hioki is an impressive submission grappler that could pose some problems for anyone in the 145-pound division.

5. Manny Gamburyan (11-5) – It is hard to know just how talented Manny is because his biggest win is against Mike Brown, who has been on a major downfall over the past few years. Still, Gamburyan has strong hands and is a powerful grappler. He isn’t afraid to trade and he pushes a fast pace, which makes him a tough opponent for anyone. He gets Tyson Griffin in Griffin’s UFC featherweight debut at UFC on Versus 4, which will be a major bout for both fighters.

6. Diego Nunes (16-1) – Nunes has quietly emerged as one of the top featherweights in the world. He has beaten Brown and Raphael Assuncao by decision in the last year, along with Tyler Toner. Nunes has went to the cards in his last six fights, so he is lacking that exciting finish, but he will get a chance to prove his worth when he takes on Florian at UFC 131.

7. Mark Hominick (20-9) – Hominick earned a lot of fans in a losing effort against Aldo at UFC 129, but his skills are still up there with anyone. He has some of the best boxing in the division, if not the very best, and his submission game isn’t bad either. Hominick showed a lot of heart in the final round against Aldo, and came close to finishing the fight, but he struggled early with Aldo’s kicks and wasn’t able to get comfortable with his striking.

8. Dustin Poirier (9-1) – Perhaps I am reading too much into Poirier’s performance against Josh Grispi at UFC 125, but I really liked what I saw from this 21-year-old featherweight. His striking was on point and his grappling was solid as well. Being so young, the kid can only get better and now he gets a shot at Rani Yahya at UFC 131, which will test his grappling and submission ability another time.

9. Tyson Griffin (14-5) – Like Florian, I am giving Griffin some credit before actually debuting at 145 pounds. He will do that at UFC Live 4 against Gamburyan. Still, Griffin will be a tough out for this division if he can make the weight. He is a strong and compact grappler with fast hands. His striking isn’t the best, but he does have good power and he can out-wrestle most, if not all, of the division. Griffin has lost some fights in his career due to his stubborn style of wanting to trade punches, but if he utilizes his wrestling in this division, I think he can quickly become a top contender.

10. Michihiro Omigawa (12-9-1) – Omigawa has had a tough go in the UFC, as he is 0-3 in the octagon, but two of those bouts came against lightweights and the other was against Mendes. Omigawa has still had some impressive wins overseas in Dream and Sengoku, but he has yet to land that big victory in the UFC.  He gets that chance at UFC 131, when he takes on Darren Elkins.

  

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