Is Ilia Topuria the Future of the Men’s UFC Featherweight Division?

Published 06/24/2023, 8:48 AM EDT

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Is Ilia Topuria the future of the men’s featherweight division?

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Ilia Topuria holds promise of dominating the men’s featherweight division in the UFC in the near future. With his exceptional skills and impressive performances, the 26-year-old has quickly established himself as one of the most promising fighters in the featherweight class. Topuria’s notable wins in the UFC include his latest triumph over Bryce Mitchell.

In their encounter, the Georgian fighter showcased his superior technique and resilience, breaking Mitchell’s undefeated streak in the UFC and handing him only his second defeat in his entire mixed martial arts career. Let us take a closer look at Topuria.


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As of June 2023, ‘El Matador’ stands undefeated, boasting a perfect record of 13-0. His remarkable consistency and ability to dominate his opponents have garnered him considerable attention within the MMA community. Topuria’s fighting style combines relentless aggression with technical precision, making him a formidable opponent for anyone in the division.

Among his notable wins, Topuria holds two impressive opening-round victories. One came against Ryan Hall, a highly regarded submission specialist known for his unorthodox grappling style. While another came against Damon Jackson, a seasoned veteran known for his durability and well-rounded skill set.

With his string of victories and relentless drive for success, Topuria has climbed the ranks and currently sits at No. 9 in the men’s featherweight division rankings. Topuria’s undefeated record, notable wins, and well-rounded skill set make him a formidable contender for the title.

Can Ilia Topuria punch his way to a title shot at UFC Jacksonville?

In his first-ever main event bout, the renowned ‘El Matador’ will face off against the experienced fighter Josh Emmett on June 24, 2023, at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, United States.

Stepping into the spotlight on the main card, the 26-year-old will certainly aim to extend his undefeated record even further. With an impressive record of 13-0, he has already proven his caliber inside the octagon. However, his 38-year-old opponent poses a tough challenge.


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‘CCO’ is coming off a loss against Yair Rodriguez that broke his five-fight winning streak. Despite the setback, Emmett remains a formidable fighter with a wealth of experience in the featherweight division. He possesses knockout power and a well-rounded skill set that could present a difficult test for Topuria.

As a fighter, Topuria has showcased his striking prowess and technical ability in previous bouts, earning him numerous victories. And a win in the main event at UFC Jacksonville would undoubtedly favor Topuria in securing matchups against higher-ranked opponents.

A successful victory over Emmett could pave the way for Topuria to face top-ranked fighters in the division, ultimately bringing him closer to a title shot. The Georgian mixed martial artist has the opportunity to prove himself on the big stage and solidify his position as a true title contender.

Ilia Topuria has moved past the idea of fighting Paddy Pimblett: “He’s not worth anything”

Although there had been previous animosity between Ilia Topuria and lightweight fighter Paddy Pimblett, the undefeated featherweight has now lost interest in a potential fight against Pimblett. The beef between ‘El Matador’ and ‘The Baddy’ originated around two years ago when Pimblett began targeting the Georgian fighter in online attacks. Taking offense to Pimblett’s mockery of the Russo-Georgian War, which resulted in the loss of Topuria’s family members, tensions escalated. The situation reached a boiling point when the two engaged in an ugly brawl in a hotel, further souring their relationship.


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In recent media appearances, Topuria made his stance clear, expressing his belief that the Liverpudlian lightweight star lacks the credibility to be considered a worthy opponent. The 26-year-old fighter boldly stated[transcribed from MMAJunkie], “Paddy, you know what happens with Paddy? He’s a person that media attention-wise, he’s big. But as a fighter, we all know he’s not worth anything. He’s not even ranked. He hasn’t done anything.”

‘El Matador’ continued his criticism of Pimblett, stating, “So giving merit to a person that’s only where he is because he knows how to sell himself well, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. We’re athletes. In the UFC, the difference between them and other organizations is that here what’s valued is the sport and Paddy, sporting wise, hasn’t achieved anything. That’s why he doesn’t interest me at all.”


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With his focus firmly fixed on his upcoming main event bout against Josh Emmett, Topuria is determined to solidify his position as a top contender in the UFC featherweight division.

Watch this story: When and Who is Valentina Shevchenko Fighting Next?



Written by:

Mayur Soni


One take at a time

Mayur Soni is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. His journey as an MMA fan started with Conor McGregor’s historic 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo in 2015, which sparked his love for the sport. Since then, he has closely followed the sport and gained an in-depth understanding of its nuances, which reflects in his insightful and analytical writing.
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