The 145 lb weight class is stacked with hugely talented fighters. In a division with two champions and previously lead by the company's star man, there is a bit of a race between best featherweights in the world to truly establish themselves as the standout star of this highly competitive weight category.
10. Yair Rodriguez (Mex) 8-1
(Last 3 fights: W-Alex Caceres (DEC), W-Andre Fili (KO), W-Daniel Hooker (DEC))
9. Doo-Ho Choi (Kor) 14-2
(Last 3 fights: L-Cub Swanson (DEC), W-Thiago Tavares (KO), W-Sam Sicilia (KO))
8. Brian Ortega (USA) 11-0
(Last 3 fights: W-Clay Guida (KO), W-Diego Brandao (SUB), W-Thiago Tavares (TKO))
7. Dennis Bermudez (USA) 15-5
(Last 3 fights: W-Rony Jason (DEC), W-Tatsuya Kawajiri (DEC), L-Jeremy Stephens (TKO))
6. Anthony Pettis (USA) 19-6
(Last 3 fights: L-Max Holloway (TKO), W-Charles Oliveira (SUB), L-Edson Barboza (DEC))
5. Ricardo Lamas (USA) 17-5
(Last 3 fights W-Charles Oliveira (SUB), L-Max Holloway (DEC),W-Diego Sanchez (DEC))
Featherweight stalwart Ricardo 'The Bully' Lamas makes the top 5 and has earned his position due to a number of impressive wins over some of the division's biggest names. Lamas' record is a who's who of 145 lbs stars. He has wins over the likes of Cub Swanson, Diego Sanchez and Charles Oliveira, but fell short to some of the higher level names in Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo and Max Holloway.
The former title challenger will be looking to put his name in the hat for a future opportunity at the belt, but has some stiff competition to get through if he is to do so. With a number of fighters also on the cusp of a marquee fight, a big performance over a top 5 opponent would be needed in order for Lamas to become a part of the championship conversation once again.
4. Cub Swanson (USA) 24-7
(Last 3 fights: W-Doo Ho Choi (DEC), W-Tatsuya Kawajiri (DEC), W-Hacran Dias (DEC))
Cub Swanson has been on a bit of a run of late scoring 3 successive victories over some pretty useful opponents. His most recent contest was against the previously ranked Doo-Ho Choi in the fight of the year at UFC 206. Both men gave their all and were rocked at different points, but neither would fall over.
The 'Cub Killer' has won 9 out of his previous 11 contests, falling short to a couple of the fighters ranked above him in Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway. There is no shame in that as they are the elite of the weight class and will go on to challenge for title honours sooner rather than later, but coming off the back of one of the performances of his life stand him in good stead for an opportunity of his own.
3. Frankie Edgar (USA)
(21-5-1)( Last 3 fights: W-Jeremy Stephens (DEC), L-Jose Aldo (DEC), W-Chad Mendes (KO))
Frankie 'The Answer' Edgar has been one of the most consistent performers in the UFC for the past decade, and at the ripe old age of 35, is still a genuine contender for the featherweight title. The former lightweight king produced a strong showing against the heavy handed Jeremy Stephens last time out, as he looked to recover from a previous decision loss to Jose Aldo.
There may be still another shot at gold for the New Jersey native, who can secure another opportunity with a big win in his next fight. Due to his reputation and his high ranking, a number of younger fighters will be looking for a top 5 scalp in order to pursue their own title ambitions, and Edgar could be the guy they go for. The only problem is, he is still world class and has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon.
2. Jose Aldo (Bra) 26-2
(Last 3 fights: W-Frankie Edgar (DEC), L-Conor McGregor (KO), W-Chad Mendes (DEC))
Jose Aldo has had a strange year. He lost for the first time in over a decade to Conor McGregor in just 13 seconds at UFC 194, losing his title in the process. He also defeated perennial contender, Frankie Edgar to position himself in the title picture. A win that saw him handed the belt by the UFC hierarchy after McGregor had to relinquish one of his championships due to a planned hiatus from MMA.
1. Max Holloway (USA) 17-3
(Last 3 fights: W-Anthony Pettis (TKO), W-Ricardo Lamas (DEC), W-Jeremy Stephens (DEC))
You are probably wondering why the outright champion of the division is not the #1 in the power rankings. But unlike the other weight classes, the featherweights have an interim title holder as well. Max 'Blessed' Holloway leads the 145 lbs rankings and gets the nod over Jose Aldo simply because he earned his belt and was not given it. Holloway is on a 10-fight winning streak and has dispatched a number of top 10 opponents on the way.
2017 will see him fight Aldo in a champion vs champions clash, which will see the victor top the division and stand alone in doing so. There may be a huge reward for the winner of that contest as there is a good chance that Conor McGregor will be waiting in the wings on his return to the octagon.
Holloway's recent performances have been everything we could have asked for and more. His scrap against fellow contender Ricardo Lamas received a rousing reception, while the interim title fight against former lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis was the best showing of his career, knocking 'Showtime' out for the first time as a professional. With such momentum on his side and the opportunity to gain some UFC gold, it is the young Hawaiian who tops our 145 lbs rankings.
Aldo gets the opportunity to become the true 145 lbs king when he takes on Max Holloway later on this year. Though he has the top prize in the division, the Brazilian is yet to defend his belt and has suffered a huge and devastating loss in his recent outings, which deny him of being the man to top our list.
Check out our Strawweight Rankings. Let us know what you think.