The UFC Featherweight division has never been more exciting due to the additions of names like Brian Ortega, Chang Sung Jung, Yair Rodriguez, Calvin Kattar and current champion Alexander Volkanovski. In this article, we’ll look at some of the notable featherweights who are quickly climbing the division’s rankings while chasing their dream of featherweight supremacy!
What a streak this young man is on right now. Arnold Allen is the definition of a prospect evolving into a top contender after suffering his first loss in mma back in 2014. Since then, Allen went on to compile a 9-1 profession record that earned him a stint in the UFC. He didn’t fail to impress in his UFC debut as he submitted Alan Omer in the third round via guillotine choke to earn his first UFC victory.
Allen has only built off his debut and has since gone on to rattle off an additional six wins extending his win streak to nine. The 26-year-old UK native is currently 7-0 in the UFC where he has defeated notable veterans including Makwan Amirkhani and Gilbert Melendez. His biggest test came in the form of Nik Lentz back in January of 2020. Yet again, Allen faced the step up in competition head on and defeated the 24-fight veteran Lentz reaffirming fight fans and UFC matchmakers alike that he is ready to face elite competition.
Allen is currently averaging 3.19 significant strikes per minute, a 1.36 takedown average per bout and a sound 76% takedown defense rate. Allen spends his time training between BKK Fighters located in the UK and the famous Tristar Gym in Canada where he continues to hone his skills in preparation for eventually facing top 10 UFC competition.
It’s always special to recognize when a fighter has taken the next step in their careers after putting on a performance that displays their growth and hard work. Shane Burgos did just that on May 4, 2019 when he took on UFC Veteran Cub Swanson and earned a split decision victory. Burgos used his size and crisp boxing to outpoint Cub Swanson and officially announce his arrival into the top 10 of the UFC Featherweight division.
Burgos made his debut back in 2016 where he defeated Tiago Trator via unanimous decision. After compiling a 10-1 record in his professional career, Burgos met Calvin Kattar at UFC 220 where the two engaged in all out brawl. Kattar went on to defeat Burgos at 0:32 of the third round but the heart and determination displayed by both fighters earned them a fight of the night honor.
Since then, the New York resident has gone on to win three straight which include a submission victory over Kurt Holobaugh, a split decision over Cub Swanson and most recently a TKO victory over Makwan Amirkhani. Burgos is currently averaging an impressive 7.06 significant strikes per minute, an elite 94% takedown defense rate and a 1.08 knockdown ratio per bout. The current #9 ranked Burgos has come a long way since his UFC debut as he continues to target top 10 talent in the hopes of further elevating his mixed martial arts career.
Ever since his performance on Dana White’s Contender Series, it was apparent that Dan Ige was a special talent destined for big things on the main stage. Thus far, Ige has not disappointed and is currently riding a five-fight win streak which includes notable victories over Kevin Aguilar and Misrad Bektic’. The Hawaiian native boasts an impressive style using his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu background along with an ever-improving striking game to fluster and pressure his opponents for the entirety of the bout.
After rattling off four straight wins between June 2018 to June 2019, Ige got the step up in competition he asked for and was scheduled to face former top UFC featherweight contender Misrad Bektic. Ige was able to edge out Bektic in a close and competitive fight that resulted in a split decision victory for Jiu Jitsu black belt. Ige is ready to climb the UFC featherweight rankings and make 2020 a year fans will never forget.
Dana White’s Contender Series seems to be a popular place to discover and sign elite featherweight talent for the UFC roster. Sodiq Yusuff has proven he belongs in the discussion of “future of the division” after amassing a 5-0 record since making his promotional debut.
Yusuff stunned fans when he finished Suman Mokhtarian at 2:14 of the first round and earned a performance of the night honor in his first official UFC bout. He went on to defeat Sheymon Moraes and Gabriel Benitez before facing his toughest test to date. At UFC 246, Yusuff faced fellow featherweight Andre Fili for a fight that would determine if the Nigerian prospect was ready for the next level of competition.
Fili took Yusuff down several times in the first round but Yusuff was quick to get back to his feet and take little to no damage. From then on Yusuff controlled the fight landing clean jabs and powerful overhand rights that backed up Fili consistently in rounds 2 and 3. Yusuff dropped Fili with a perfectly timed leg kick in round two before securing the mount position. All three judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Yusuff. The #13 ranked UFC featherweight is on a six-fight win streak and is motivated to continue his growth and stature as a viable UFC featherweight contender.