By Niall Clarke

  • UFC Featherweight preview and predictions
  • Conor McGregor is the current champion
  • What does 2016 have in store for the Irishman?

The look ahead to 2016 continues with arguably the most interesting division in the UFC. It is time for the Featherweights and a particular Irishman.

The UFC’s international growth can largely attributed to one man, Conor McGregor. He generated a buzz that we have never experienced in the sport and has the eyes of the world watching his every move- MMA has a new superstar.

2015 was the year of McGregor. After a TKO victory against Chad Mendes, he went on to make history with a 13 second knockout of Jose Aldo to win the Featherweight title.

In the UK, the media attention behind that fight was greater than any UFC fight in history. Suddenly the UFC was appearing on mainstream media such as Sky Sports and the BBC, the McGregor effect was in full force.

Now the 2015 fighter of the year will turn his attention to defending the belt. What is next for the most talked about division in the sport and its champion?

With all the possibilities of his next fight, early 2016 will feature a lot of hype of ‘who’s next for McGregor’. Is it a rematch with Aldo? Is it Frankie Edgar? Or is it a move to lightweight? No matter which path is taken, it will draw huge money.

The one certainty of 2016 is our old friend the injury curse rears its ugly ahead again. Unfortunately with all the hype and publicity surrounding McGregor, it will typically come to him.

The champion is booked against Edgar for UFC 200 but the fight does not happen and instead ‘The Answer’ defeats fellow contender Max Holloway in the replacement fight.

McGregor returns to face Edgar but the stylistic nightmare that is the former Lightweight champion ends the Irish party. The talk of the Irishman moving to Lightweight intensifies but he remains at 145 and wins another fight by knockout to end the year.

Aldo will be back and will easily win a tune up fight against a ranked fighter to give himself a shot at reclaiming the Featherweight title. A rematch with Edgar will be set for the latter part of the year or in the early part of 2017 which Edgar will win as the former champion looks a shadow of his former self.

No matter what happens in 2016, all eyes will be on the Featherweight’s as it is now one of the most interesting divisions in the company.

Next up, the Lightweights. That will come your way tomorrow so stay tuned.

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