Breaking Down the Rankings: Featherweight

Posted on July 5, 2010


FEATHERWEIGHT (136  lbs. – 145 lbs.)

  1. Jose Aldo (17-1 / WEC Featherweight Champion)
  2. Manny Gamburyan (11-4 / WEC)
  3. Mike Thomas Brown (23-6 / WEC)
  4. Bibiano Fernandes (8-2 / DREAM Featherweight Champion)
  5. Urijah Faber (23-4 / WEC)
  6. Josh Grispi (14-1 / WEC)
  7. Joe Soto (9-0 / Bellator Featherweight Champion)
  8. Raphael Assuncao (14-2 / WEC)
  9. Joe Warren (5-1 / Bellator)
  10. Marlon Sandro (17-1 / Sengoku Featherweight Champion)

I had my doubts about Manny Gamburyan being brought up in conversation about title contenders until I saw what he did against Mike Thomas Brown. With his injury-plagued days behind him, Manny might have finally found his weight. Unfortunately, he came around at the same time as Jose Aldo, who has looked like a 145 pound Anderson Silva out there.

I put Bibiano Fernandes in the top 5 with some degree of hesitation. However, his only two losses were to Norifumi “KID” Yamamoto and Urijah Faber, when both were absolute monsters in the division. He’s fared well against some very tough opponents and is on the bigger side of 145. He’d have some trouble with Jose Aldo‘s speed, but would overwhelm a lot of other fighters at that weight. It’s my hope that Zuffa starts giving bigger pay-outs in WEC, which will entice fighters like Fernandez to ply their trade consistently in North America, which will also make them better fighters.

This is probably the last month we’ll see Urijah Faber in the top ten, as he’s making a permanent move to Bantamweight in a fight against Top 10 ranked Takeya Mizugaki on August 18th. He had a tough go of it after two consecutive losses to Mike Thomas Brown and his decimation at the hands of Jose Aldo and is hoping to find a second life at 135. It’s an intriguing move. We’ll see if he’s able to pull it off.

Joe Warren gets better each time I see him, even if he wins controversial decisions. He’s still got a ways to go, but the potential is definitely there.