Note that the rankings are voted on by a panel of MMA Freak writers. Also note the previous rankings (11/30/14) are listed in parenthesis:
1) Jose Aldo (1)
It has yet to be confirmed but Jose Aldo‘s next title defense is being targeted for UFC 187 in May against the Irishman Conor McGregor. With the momentum behind McGregor, this challenge maybe the motivation Aldo needs to get out of his stale fight plan.
2) Chad Mendes (2)
Chad Mendes is looking for his first rebound match since his rematch against Jose Aldo in April against Ricardo Lamas at UFN 63.
3) Frankie Edgar (3)
At the current time Frankie Edgar doesn’t have anything scheduled since his fight against Cub Swanson in November of last year.
4) Conor McGregor (5)
Conor McGregor earned his upcoming title fight against Jose Aldo at UFC 187 in May by making Dennis Siver look like an easy fight. It’s hard to deny that McGregor has been improving by leaps and bounds with every match and may legitimately challenge Aldo for the title.
5) Ricardo Lamas (4)
In his hunt for another title shot, Ricardo Lamas will face fellow former title challenger Chad Mendes in April at UFC Fight Night 63.
6) Cub Swanson (6)
Cub Swanson currently has nothing scheduled but expect him to come out of the gate hungry for a rebound from his Frankie Edgar loss.
7) Nik Lentz (7)
After only one fight in 2014 due to an illness from a planned opponent, Nik Lentz will face Thiago Tavares at UFN 20 on February 14. This is actually a rematch of their 2010 bout which ended in a draw due to a groin shot from Tavares, allowing a final score between the two.
8) Dustin Poirier (9)
Dustin Poirier will move to lightweight to face Carlos Diego Ferreira on April 4th at UFC Fight Night: Mendes vs. Lamas in Virginia. It will be interesting to see if Poirier will be able to establish himself at lightweight the same way he was able to do so at lightweight.
9) Dennis Bermudez (8)
Currently Dennis Bermudez has nothing scheduled after his UFC 180 loss to Ricardo Lamas in Mexico City, Mexico on November 15th.
10) Patricio Freire (10)
Patricio Freire successfully defended his title in a rematch with Daniel Straus at Bellator 132 on January 16th by a submission victory. There are more then a few contenders in Bellator that may arise in the division under the new promotional model and time will tell.
The following fighter received votes for the featherweight rankings and as such is considered a contender in the division: Pat Curran.