MMA Divisional rankings: Featherweight

Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below.

Who is the best fighter regardless of weight class? See ESPN's pound-for-pound rankings. Plus, check out our women's pound-for-pound rankings.

Note: Results through March 5, 2018.

Divisional Rankings

Heavyweight | Light heavyweight
Middleweight | Welterweight | Lightweight
Featherweight | Bantamweight | Flyweight
Women's bantamweight | Women's strawweight


1. Max Holloway (19-3)
Five months after taking the title away from Jose Aldo in Brazil, Holloway doubled down on his title reign by knocking the all-time great out a second time. Make it 12 wins in a row.
Next: TBD

2. Brian Ortega (14-0)
Wow. Very few men have bested Frankie Edgar in a mixed martial arts fight -- and none had finished him, until Ortega came along. Ortega took a risk fighting one of the game's best at UFC 222, and walked away unscathed. Holloway vs. Ortega for all the marbles, please.
Next: TBD

3. Jose Aldo (26-3)
Aldo certainly didn't look bad at UFC 218, but he also didn't look like he could beat Max Holloway if they fought 50 more times. His reign as the best featherweight in the world is seemingly over, but what a run it was. What's his next step?
Next: TBD

4. Frankie Edgar (22-5-1)
Edgar could have waited for a healthy Holloway, and a guaranteed UFC title shot, but he chose to risk it against Brian Ortega at UFC 222. The gamble fell flat, as Edgar suffered the first knockout loss of his career. It's a heartbreaking result, but Edgar is still within striking distance of the belt. One or two wins should go a long way.
Next: TBD

5. Cub Swanson (26-8)
Swanson believed he was this close to his long-awaited UFC title shot in December, but a submission loss to Brian Ortega will set him back quite a bit. He's not out of the picture by any means, but for a guy who has waited so long without a title shot, any set back must feel like a major one.
Next: TBD

6. Jeremy Stephens (28-14)
Not that long ago, Stephens was basically relegated to the role of 'gatekeeper' at 145 pounds. He's changing that narrative now. Three wins in his last three fights, including monster finishes against Josh Emmett and Doo Ho Choi. Maybe a leopard can change his spots. This is arguably the best run of Stephens' long career.
Next: TBD

7. Patricio Freire (26-3)
Pitbull is once again Bellator's 145-pound champ, as he submitted Daniel Straus via guillotine choke in April. Since 2013, Freire has only one loss in this weight class -- a five-round decision to Straus in 2015.
Next: TBD

8. Josh Emmett (13-1)
Emmett has surged quickly into title contention since making his UFC debut in 2016. His latest performance, a first-round knockout of Ricardo Lamas on short notice in December, was a major eye-opener and sets him up for big things in 2018.
Next: UFC Fight Night on Feb. 24, vs. Jeremy Stephens

8. Ricardo Lamas (18-6)
It was a wicket set of circumstances surrounding Lamas' knockout loss to Josh Emmett in December. He was supposed to face the former champion in Jose Aldo. The fight was changed, and then Emmett missed weight. It's the kind of loss you hate to see for Lamas, who had been on a two-fight win streak.
Next: TBD

9. Darren Elkins (24-5)
A perennial underdog, Elkins has forced his way into title contention with an amazing six-fight win streak. Elkins has found himself in trouble along the way, but the guy has found ways to win and has now gone three years without a single loss. Maybe it's time to stop doubting him. .
Next: TBD

10. Yair Rodriguez (10-2)
Whoa ... Rodriguez looked like the next big thing going into UFC 211, but it's back to the drawing board he goes after being crushed by Frankie Edgar. It's worth noting, however, that it was Frankie Edgar. Rodriguez might still be the guy we think he is. It just might take a little longer than we thought for him to reach the top.
Next: TBD