MMA Power Rankings -- FEATHERWEIGHT
Monday, June 25
With Jose Aldo-Erik Koch postponed due to an Aldo injury, the UFC's featherweight division bears a little resemblance to lightweight and welterweight. That is: Everything stops. Or rather, everything keeps going, but with recovery timetables and rebookings now part of the equation it keeps going with no promise of a No. 1 contender's spot.
No need to tell Hatsu Hioki, the Japanese import that has been saddled near the top of contention since coming over to the UFC last summer. Hioki squeaked by George Roop in his debut at UFC 137, then dominated Bart Palaszewski in his native Japan at UFC 144 to be offered the title shot against Aldo. But, hinting he wasn't ready, Hioki decided to take another fight beforehand, making the young Koch the proud recipient of a title chance. Meanwhile, Hioki was dealt a tough but relatively unheralded Ricardo Lamas at UFC on FX 4.
So what happens? You know how this story goes.
Lamas defeated a tentative Hioki via unanimous decision, thus kicking the legs out of the UFC's top contender in the class. Hioki becomes the second fighter in the last three months to drop a fight in which title implications were the case (Remember that Dustin Poirier lost to Chan Sung Jung in May). Yet for every Poirier and Hioki faltering, there's a "Korean Zombie" on the move up toward that featherweight belt (whenever it's back open for business).