Speaking of weight classes in MMA, fans and experts often claim that the UFC's lightweight division is the most challenging weight class to assert one’s dominance in.
Certain other weight classes, like the UFC's heavyweight division, where no one has been able to stay at the top for long, often beg to differ.
Amidst all the debates and discussions, a division that appears to have emerged as the most stacked of them all is the UFC's bantamweight division.
Here are a few factors that make the bantamweight division the most stacked weight class in the UFC today:
3) Multiple former UFC champions are still active in the bantamweight division
What do Petr Yan, Cody Garbrandt, Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, and Dominick Cruz have in common? The answer is simple: They’re all former UFC champions.
Petr Yan, Cody Garbrandt, and Dominick Cruz have previously held the UFC bantamweight title. Jose Aldo is a former UFC featherweight champion, while Frankie Edgar is a former UFC lightweight champion. These former titleholders are currently ranked in the top fifteen of the organization’s bantamweight division.
Furthermore, former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw is ready to make his return to the octagon this year. Clearly, the UFC's bantamweight division is stacked with some of the most elite fighters in all of MMA today.
2) Aljamain Sterling is an incredibly skilled UFC champion yet finds himself as the underdog in a shark tank of a division
In a division stacked with former champions, the reigning UFC bantamweight champion is a brilliant fighter too.
For years, Aljamain Sterling, aka 'The Funk Master', has been one of the most underrated fighters in the sport of MMA. Granted, winning the bantamweight title by beating Petr Yan via disqualification at UFC 259 wasn’t the way he wanted to be crowned. However, the fact remains that he is the current undisputed king of the UFC's 135lbs division.
As talented as Sterling is, the fact that this champion is regarded as the underdog against more than one of his bantamweight rivals shows what a shark tank of a division he competes in.
1) The UFC bantamweight division isn’t looking to rebuild the past but is combining the past, present, and future to deliver excellence
All this talk about former champions holding their position in the UFC bantamweight top fifteen may lead some to believe that the division is all about fighters looking to reclaim their past glory. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
The UFC bantamweight division isn’t about rebuilding the past. It features former champions and current elites such as Sterling, Yan, and others in the top five.
This highly competitive weight class also comprises potential future stars such as Rob Font, Cory Sandhagen, Kyler Phillips, Merab Dvalishvili, Cody Stamann, and, of course, ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley.
Young talents like O’Malley and others lurk outside the top fifteen, while the division’s dark horses like Dvalishvili are on the cusp of breaking through into its upper echelons. It’s no surprise, then, that the UFC's bantamweight division produces several must-see fights throughout the year.
Which bantamweight matchups would you like to see the UFC book in the future? Sound off in the comments.
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