Outlook: Top to bottom, featherweight is as exciting a division as any because of the veteran talent balanced out by the up-and-comers eager to make noise in the top 15. Although he is 35 years old, Josh Emmett found a bit of new life in the featherweight division. In five fights at 145 pounds, Emmett has four wins and three knockouts. His comeback knockout over Michael Johnson was eye-popping, especially after a year out due to injury. Another impressive climber is Calvin Kattar. Three of his four UFC wins are by knockout, and in his bout with Zabit Magomedsharipov, one of the lasting thoughts was that if the headlining fight went five rounds, Kattar was the one carrying the momentum into the final two after pushing the pace in the third. The 32-year-old New Englander is as slick a boxer as any in the division, and he has real size and power. As for two of the more established rising contenders, Arnold Allen and Sodiq Yusuff continue to pass the tests laid out in front of them. For Allen, the 26-year-old Brit is spotless in seven UFC fights and was set to take on Josh Emmett in his first top 10 test until Emmett pulled out of the bout. Instead, he took home a hard-fought decision over Nik Lentz that showcased his pace and technical striking ability, and it’s only a matter of time before he gets his chance to prove he’s the real deal. Meanwhile, Yusuff continues to put on entertaining – and winning – fights. Victorious in his first four UFC fights, the 26-year-old Nigerian scored two first-round knockouts and established himself as the real deal when he won a close decision against Andre Fili. Both Yusuff and Allen have earned a top 15 and maybe even a top 10 opponent, but given the depth of the division, any fight inside the rankings is a surefire tough contest.
For more information and updates, sign up for the UFC Newsletter here.