This past weekend, the UFC completed their title picture by crowning Demetrious Johnson as thier first 125 lb Flyweight champion after he defeated Joseph Benavides at UFC 152. Despite the boos of the restless Canadian crowd, it was a solid fight and Johnson deserves the win. After years of fighting bigger opponents and holding his own, Johnson paid his dues and has earned UFC gold. Benavides is a tough guy too, and one of the judges had it for him. So what is next for the division?
The UFC’s October 5th offering features a bout between John Dodson and Jussier Formiga that figures to produce Johnson’s next opponent. There are calls for Benavides to battle Ian ‘Uncle Creepy’ McCall, but is there enough competition at the lowest weight class?
It is interesting to not that boxing has and uses about 5 weight classes below 125 lbs, so their should be enough athletes among the little guys to develop if you are the UFC.
The lower weight classes of 125 and 135 present the UFC with a good opportunity to develop foreign talent. They have announced a reality series based out of India, and this formula could be duplicated in the Philippines, Japan and elsewhere in order to accelerate the development of a wide talent pool.
Big time MMA in Japan (PRIDE, DREAM, WVR) appear to be thoroughly dead. There are not even real rumors of the traditional New Year’s eve show, and there really is no big time athlete to carry a show anymore in Japan. Sakuraba is reportedly doing bong hits with Genki Sudo while sparring.
But SHOOTO, DEEP and smaller groups that thrive on the lower weight classes are still operating. There is talent to be found out there if you look.
Because the UFC is one Demetrious Johnson knee tear away from possibly shelving a division that could be the most exciting and technically sound in the sport. They need more talent.
Dodson is also an exciting athlete, and I’m predicting he comes through the Brazilian to be Johnson’s next opponent. But after that, a Creepy rematch, or a Benavides rematch? the UFC better do some work and expand their talent pool. It has made for a down year as far as big fights are concerned in other weight classes, but at 125, they have no depth at all, and scrapping that weight class would be a huge shame.