6 UFC Fighters that Might Rule at Featherweight
The mixed martial arts world is buzzing with Dana White’s recent announcement that the WEC has merged into the UFC, effective in 2011. Quite frankly, the merger has been a long time coming. Fight fans have been salivating at the thought of seeing the featherweights and bantamweights competing under the UFC banner for years.
In addition to bolstering the size of the UFC’s roster with two new weight divisions (and more lightweights), we may now see an influx of 155-pound fighters making the cut down to featherweight.
Fighters who were reluctant to cut weight in the past may be more inclined to strike while the iron is hot. With that said, let’s take a look at six lightweight candidates that could benefit from moving down to the newly established UFC featherweight division.
Obviously it’s silly to question Edgar’s place in the lightweight division right now. Sure, he may be one of the smallest athletes in the weight class, but he is the champion, having beaten BJ Penn on two occasions.
However, Gray Maynard could be Edgar’s kryptonite. If Maynard can bully Edgar around at UFC 125 like he did at UFC Fight Night 13 two years ago, the New Jersey native might want to consider making the cut to 145-lbs.
Aside from maybe Mike Brown or Chad Mendes, the featherweight division doesn’t have a big, strong wrestler like Maynard in the division. On the contrary, if Edgar beats Maynard in January, anyone who has ever called for Edgar to drop down will be forever silenced.
Once viewed as a potential title contender, Griffin’s luck in the 155-lbs division as of late has been less than stellar. If losing a rather one sided decision loss to Xtreme Couture teammate Evan Dunham wasn’t enough to drop Griffin from the lightweight rankings, the thundering knockout loss he suffered at the hands of Takanori Gomi certainly was.
Still, even with two consecutive losses, Griffin is one of the toughest and most explosive lightweights around. He’s a bulky 155’er, but if he could manage the cut down to featherweight I believe he could potentially follow in the footsteps of former featherweight champion Mike Brown.
Unfortunately, that same style has only gotten Guida as far as divisional gatekeeper at 155-lbs. Granted, he has shown some improvements since training under Greg Jackson, but it is highly unlikely that “The Carpenter” will work his way into the lightweight title picture any time soon.
That could all change with a move to 145. He would also have a pretty significant size advantage over most in the division.
Pellegrino was on the brink of finally reaching the upper echelon of the lightweight division before losing to George Sotiropoulos in July. At lightweight, Pellegrino is able to dominate most of his opponents with superior grappling. However, when up against better ground fighters such as Sotiropoulos and Nate Diaz, Pellegrino usually ends up on the losing end.
Believe it or not, there aren’t as many jiu-jitsu specialists at 145-lbs as there are at lightweight. Pellegrino is certainly a phenomenal grappler, but it’s effectiveness would be highlighted more at featherweight.
Even though he’s won three of his last four fights, Stout is in need of a career resurgence. His incredible striking prowess might be better suited for a lighter weight division. His stand up technique is flawless, but he lacks the punching power to put people to sleep at 155-lbs.
At 145-lbs, we could see Stout ending more fights via TKO.
The only problem with a move down for Stout is friendship. The Canadian striker trains on a daily basis with fellow countrymen Mark Hominick and Chris Horodecki in Las Vegas.
Fisher has fought as high as welterweight in the past, so dropping down to 145-lbs won’t be an easy cut for him. Let’s be honest though, “The King” isn’t really going anywhere in the lightweight division.
He’s an exciting fighter with solid well-rounded skills, but he just can’t seem to crack the upper echelon. Dropping a weight class could be just the thing to rejuvenate Fisher’s career. Plus who wouldn’t want to see Fisher fight Mark Hominick or Leonard Garcia?