The UFC lightweight fan rankings have witnessed a significant shake-up following Paul Felder's official retirement announcement last week.
Georgia-born MMA fighter Arman Tsarukyan has made his much-awaited entry into the top 15 of the lightweight bracket. Tsarukyan is 4-1 in the UFC. His only defeat came in his promotional debut against fellow Russian fighter Islam Makhachev at UFC Fight Night 149. In his last outing, 'Ahalkalakets' beat Matt Frevola via a unanimous decision.
Taking to Twitter, the up-and-coming prospect reacted to his addition to the upper echelons of the 155 lbs division:
"Thanks for the support," wrote Arman Tsarukyan.
Speaking to RT Sport recently, Arman Tsarukyan (16-2) commented on running it back with Islam Makhachev. He awaits Makhachev to sign the dotted line for a fight in Russia in the fall of 2021.
"I'd like to fight him towards the end of this year. If he has a fight, then I have a fight against a top-15 opponent. Then we can fight in Russia towards the end of this year. I think arenas in Russia will be open by then," said Arman Tsarukyan.
Tsarukyan also suggested other potential opponents. The Russian fighter wants to either face Dan Hooker or Gregor Gillespie in his next bout.
Paul Felder's retirement makes way for new entrant in the top 10
Paul Felder appeared apologetic for stalling the division with inactivity during his retirement speech at UFC Vegas 27.
"My apologies for holding up the division to all the guys behind me...it's not right to hold up the division," said Paul Felder in his announcement.
Felder's retirement has led to Gregor Gillespie's surge into the top 10. 'The Gift' rose to the 10th spot following his TKO victory over Diego Ferreira at UFC Vegas 26.
Furthermore, Islam Makhachev has been bumped to No. 9 in the division. Makhachev's recent submission victory over Drew Dober at UFC 259 certainly warrants a step up in the rankings.
Meanwhile, Kevin Lee, Diego Ferriera, Drew Dober and Thiago Moises have been pushed a spot higher after Paul Felder's removal from the USADA testing pool.