One of the more dynamic divisions in the UFC over the last decade has been the featherweight division. The division had it’s first title fight back in 2011 when Jose Aldo (29-7) fought Mark Hominick at UFC 129.
Prior to that the featherweight division had been in the WEC. After the featherweight division moved over to the UFC, the division was ruled by Aldo until the end of 2015 when Conor McGregor knocked Aldo out in the first round.
While Aldo did end up winning an interim featherweight title after McGregor left the division, once Aldo’s reign was over, we transitioned to the blessed era. Max Holloway (21-6) became UFC featherweight champion in 2016.
Holloway went on a run that saw him beat Anthony Pettis, Aldo (Twice), Frankie Edgar, and Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC). However, the Blessed Express finally fell last December to the new king, Alexander Volkanovski (22-1).
Volkanovski entered UFC 245 as a betting underdog to Holloway. However, he used a steady attack to dethrone the featherweight king. The two ran things back at UFC 251 with Volkanovski barely edging Holloway by split decision.
With two consecutive wins over Max Holloway, Volkanovski is ready for new challenges in the UFC‘s featherweight division in 2021. Fortunately for him, it’s a division full of killers which is promising for a big year.
UFC’s featherweight division in 2021
Starting at the top, we should expect to see a UFC featherweight title fight pretty quickly in 2021. After Brian Ortega completely dominated Chan Sung Jung (16-6), he’s earned the next shot at Volkanovski.
Dana White has said that the title fight between those two will likely take place in February. The former champion, Holloway, is still near the top of the division. Holloway will kick off the UFC‘s action in 2021 on Fight Island.
UFC Fight Island 7 is being headlined by Holloway as he takes on Calvin Kattar (22-4). Kattar has risen to the top of the division having only lost once in the last couple of years. Whoever wins that fight should be in a really good position in the division.
The one UFC contender people need to watch out for is Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1). The Russian didn’t get to fight in 2020 and he’s not currently booked, but he’s been perfect at 6-0 since joining the UFC.
Had he picked up a win in 2020, he could’ve gotten a title shot before Brian Ortega. I would expect the UFC to get Zabit a fight relatively early in 2021. The top contender needs to get back in the octagon sooner than later.
The featherweight division is absolutely stacked and Volkanovski is going to have his hands full in 2021. To be completely honest, I really don’t know who will leave 2021 as the UFC featherweight champion. Should be a very fun year in that weight class.