To appreciate the extent to which the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship men’s featherweight division has been the story of one man, you need only understand this: Saturday’s UFC 231 headliner between Max Holloway and Brian Ortega will be the first undisputed title fight in divisional history not to feature Jose Aldo.
Ushered in as the inaugural UFC featherweight champ thanks to his status as the final World Extreme Cagefighting titleholder, “Scarface” would go on to defend his new strap seven times, a divisional record that seems unlikely to fall anytime soon. Aldo lost his title to Conor McGregor at UFC 194 in December 2015 in stunning fashion; the 13-second knockout showed that the voluble Irishman could back up his talk and marked the “Notorious” one’s launching point to superstardom.
Of course McGregor, in what has now come to be his pattern, promptly left the division high and dry. In the chaos that ensued, former champ Aldo landed three more title fights, but the man who barreled his way to the front of the pack was Holloway. The dynamic Hawaiian boasts an offensive arsenal that may be unparalleled in the history of the sport, and is already only the second man to successfully defend the UFC featherweight title. To this point in his career, Holloway’s only true foil is his own health, likely exacerbated by his enormous weight cut.
Here, then, is the history of the UFC men’s featherweight title and the times it was won, lost or defended. Interim title fights are omitted with the exception of Aldo-Frankie Edgar 2, since the winner of that fight ended up being promoted to undisputed champ without a unification bout. While Holloway may not be long for the 145-pound division, it is nonetheless a weight class on the rise, and this weekend’s title tilt features two talented and charismatic 27-year-olds in possibly the most highly-anticipated fight of 2018.
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