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Featherweight Has Become the UFC’s Best Division

For as long as there have been professional combat sports, lighter weight-classes often don’t draw as much attention as the heavier ones. That isn’t from a lack of talent. While seeing two large men slug it out is fun, for purists, the lighter divisions are often the place to go for the most skillful action. Even in the Ultimate Fight Championship’s (UFC) short history, the lightweight division has consistently been a hub for fast paced and tactical combat. Now the 155 pound division hasn’t lost its place as shark tank. However, the much maligned UFC featherweight division is starting to make a play for consideration as the most dependable, and best, division in the company.

Since the 2010 addition of 145 pounds (hyperlink) to the UFC’s plethora of weight-classes, featherweight was a division with a champion that seemed impossible to dethrone. It lacked plausible threats to the champ, and fighters with marketable names. As is the story with many smaller weight-classes in combat sports, it was viewed as having fun fights but not many athletes enthusiasts would pay to see. That included the aforementioned champion—Jose Aldo.

Yet that all changed in December of last year. Conor McGregor did something that no one had been able to do in the previous ten years—defeat Aldo. This invincible figure that had dominated the WEC and UFC since 2008 had finally been conquered. The door of opportunity had swung open. Even as impressive as McGregor had been in his UFC run, he would need to rack up several title defenses before he separated himself from the pack, like the former champion did.

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