Could Brooklyn be the end of the Flyweight division?
The UFC emanates from Brooklyn, New York this coming weekend for Fight Night 143, and his headlined by the ‘Super Fight’ between Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw. Could this be the last fight card we see the 125lb title on the line in the UFC?
The MMA promotion shocked the world in the last quarter of last year when they traded former flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson to ONE FC, with welterweight Ben Askren. A move that showed what many were thinking, in that the UFC was not really getting behind the lower weight class.
With the trade rumours flying around that the UFC, was in fact, going to dissolve the division altogether, and only keep a handful of its talent on the books but get them to move up to Bantamweight in order to get a fight.
This is working on the case if TJ manages to beat the former Olympian in Cejudo and become a two-weight champion.
With the bout being at 125lbs, there is the possibility of a Dillashaw win, taking the title away from a recognised flyweight. What the company do after that is anyone’s guess.
The final nail in the coffin for the 125lb men’s division was when Dana White authorised the trade of possibly one of his greatest ever champions to what can now be seen as a possible future title contender. It also sends a possible indication to those fighters at that weight to not bother thinking of a UFC contract, and to look instead at a payday from either ONE FC or Bellator. This situation occurred in Cage Warriors with former flyweight champion Nathan Greyson.
The 125lb division has given us some of the most exciting fights on any UFC card, and even in recent memory, whilst champion Might Mouse won with a flying armbar, a move that seemed to come straight from the computer games. But the money and promotion of the division were never there! You had a champion who beat Anderson Silva’s record for most consecutive title defences but was never given the main event slot on a PPV, didn’t really get the promotion behind him that some other fighters got. I think in his two fights CM Punk got more of a ‘push’ than Johnson was given.
The scenario which could lead to a conundrum for the promotion is that come Saturday night Cejudo walks out of Brooklyn still champion. Having a recognised flyweight could put a stop for the time being of the division being phased out.
If the rumours are true, and the UFC is indeed set on getting rid of the division entirely, it wouldn’t be out the realms of possibility that once the fighters kept on, see out their contracts and follow Johnson to Asia.
This fight on Saturday night isn’t just 5 rounds in the Octagon, it’s not just for a belt that you can show your grandkids and say I was the best in the world at this weight, it a fight for a whole division, a fight to show the UFC matchmakers and Dana White, that you belong on the big stage!
The one roadblock in the way seems in my mind to be in the shape of Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, a fighter who polarises opinion, could be the one to put the final blow to the 125lb division in the UFC.