UFC: What’s Next at Featherweight?
By Matt Wise
What a difference a week can make in the UFC.
Chan Sung Jung’s first round knockout of Frankie Edgar and Alex Volkanovski’s triumph over Max Holloway turned the featherweight title picture on its head.
I am going to weigh up the options available to the UFC and decide which fights are most likely.
Chan Sung Jung vs. Alex Volkanovski:
Yet another first round knockout might just see The Korean Zombie jump the queue and become the first challenger to Alex Volkanovski’s throne.
UFC fans have been well aware of the 32 year-old’s ability since his debut in 2011, but a series of injuries coupled with mandatory military service really stuttered his progress.
However, back-to-back first round knockouts over Renato Moicano and Frankie Edgar have seen him reach new heights and make last year’s dramatic loss to Yair Rodriguez seem a distant memory.
I think it is slightly too early for the Korean Zombie to stand up to the champion. He looks every bit ready, but he might have to bide his time because it looks as though Dana White is more interested in a different bout…
Max Holloway vs. Alex Volkanovski 2:
Last weekend’s huge title fight saw Australian power puncher Alex Volkanovski snatch the featherweight crown away from Max Holloway, and many were surprised by the pace Volkanovski was able to maintain throughout his victorious display.
Many feel that Holloway’s dominance as champion earns him the right to an immediate rematch, and Holloway said himself he had received indications from Dana White that he will get a shot at redemption in Australia.
I think this is the most likely outcome in regard to the title. The first fight was not definitive, leaving the door very much open for a second. Holloway will believe that a different game plan will see him win back his belt; but he will likely have to travel to the opposite end of the globe to do so.
Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Chan Sung Jung – title eliminator:
Russian phenom Zabit has won all six of his UFC bouts and has looked dominant in pretty much all of them. His most recent victory came over Calvin Kattar, who is also known for his power.
If Holloway-Volkanovski 2 is to be made then this fight would make almost too much sense. This would provide the toughest test of Zabit’s UFC career to date, and a mouth-watering clash for the fans.
With these two equally as deserving of a crack at the title, the winner of this fight should then face the victor of Holloway-Volkanovski 2.
Jose Aldo vs. Alex Volkanovski 2:
It would be harsh to discuss the featherweight title and completely discount Jose Aldo.
Although before his bantamweight debut against Marlon Moraes he hinted that he sees his future at 135lbs, he might feel that the weight cut is a little too gruelling at this stage of his career.
He might feel that he has unfinished business with the new champion after taking him to a decision and having some good moments. However, it is probable that the Brazilian great will need to work his way back to the top having lost his last two fights; albeit narrowly.