Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige will carve out the future of the featherweight division when they meet on Fight Island. Kattar is the #6 ranked fighter in the division, and Ige ranks #10, right behind him. There are plenty of moving pieces at the top of featherweight, this is how it breaks down right now:
At UFC 251, Max Holloway will get his rematch against Alexander Volkanovski to establish a champion for a new challenger. Those ranking ahead of Kattar include #5 Yair Rodriguez, #4 Chan Sung Jung, #3 Brian Ortega, and #2 Zabit Magomedsharipov. Behind Kattar stands the injured #7 Josh Emmett, #8 Frankie Edgar fighting at bantamweight, and Kattar’s last opponent #9 Jeremy Stephens.
Ortega and Jung were originally scheduled to fight in December. The match-up is still relevant, and looks like it’s on track to get re-booked. Emmett suffered a torn ACL, and Edgar is getting his feet wet at 135 — the opportunities are starting to look thin. Kattar and Zabit had an incredible battle at the end of 2019 that favored Zabit in a decision. This fight would be interesting to run back, but would it make sense for Zabit to accept that fight again? Rodriguez and Kattar share a common victory over Stephens. All while Ige is getting his first look at the featherweight top 10.
Ige has yet to face any of the previously mentioned opponents, and would have more fight options as a result. Ige would likely have to win another fight to break into title contention and into the top 5. Fighters below Ige in the rankings include #11 Jose Aldo, who is also fighting at bantamweight, #12 Arnold Allen, #13 Ryan Hall who is scheduled to fight at the end of August, #14 Shane Burgos who just lost to Josh Emmett, and #15 Sodiq Yusuff.
The winner of this match will emerge a viable title contender. Tune in to the fireworks this upcoming Wednesday, July 15th on ESPN+.