UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson defended his belt against relatively unknown John Moraga last night in front of his hometown crowd in Seattle. Johnson is one of the UFC’s least known champions, and the 125 lb weight class in the UFC can best be described as a ‘work in progress’, however this is Johnson’s 2nd successful defense of the title, and in a division that is light on talent, what do you do next if you are UFC with your flyweight champion?
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Johnson not only retained his belt, he finished the fight for the first time in his Decision heavy UFC career, and the competition at 125 lbs is not that deep, so Johnson has been talking ‘superfights’, or interdivisional matches.
Before that, it is important to mention that the Flyweight class does have an elephant in the room, and that is 18-3 Joseph Benavides. Benavides is the man Johnson defeated via Split Decision to win the title. Heading into that first meeting, Johnson was the underdog, and Benavides has gone 2-0 himself since that match and is chomping at the bit for a title shot. Benavides is booked for September, and a win will almost certainly assure him of a title shot at some point.
The idea of Johnson moving up to fight at Bantamweight is intriguing, as Johnson started his career at Bantam and Featherweight and he was always competitive. UFC Bantamweight titlist Dominick Cruz has not been sen in the octagon since going 5 rounds with Johnson back in October of 2011, but that division is far deeper than the Flyweights.
An intriguing idea is to let Johnson stay busy by fighting an average 135 lber or two, similar to what Anderson Silva got when he fought James Irvin. It would keep Johnson active while the top of the 135 lb weight class hashes itself out.
A lot will depend on how Dominick Cruz comes back. Renan Barao holds an interim title at 135 lbs, but he may be headed north to 145 lbs himself. The division also has top names like Urijah Faber and Mike MacDonald, both of whom want a piece of Barao.
So far, the talk of a change in weight class has been coming strictly from Johnson himself, as he looks to stay active and earn. The most likely scenario for Johnson is a Benavides match up next.