Since The Ultimate Fighting Championship traded long time Flyweight champion Demitrious Johnson to ONE Championship for the now-retired Ben Askren, UFC Flyweights have been on the chopping block, at one point listing only 14 ranked fighters instead of the standard 15 because that was all they had on the roster. This was the first clear sign that the company was in the process of dismantling the fastest pace division in the sport. Now with a “deep” 20 fighter roster, the Flyweight division was in search of a champion who wasn’t leaving for big fights.
This past weekend in Norfolk, Virginia, was a worst-case scenario for the UFC Flyweight Division. In what was to be the solidification of a 125lb Championship yet instead, we had the winning Deiveson Figueiredo come in 2.5lbs over-weight, and a division on the brink of extinction is still left without a titleholder. With Joseph Benavidez, the division had its true savior, a fan favorite and someone who would fulfill the status of a champion. In what was his third attempt at UFC gold, “Joey B” was finished in the 2nd Round after he and Figueiredo collided heads, leaving Benavidez bloody before he was devastated with right hands that saw him hit the canvas and left wondering what could have been.
Now we are left with a fighter who has known about this fight for 10 weeks missed weight for his first-ever UFC title opportunity and had the audacity to get photos eating pizza after the fight. This has us questioning is Henry Cejudo still the champ? Is there a champ? What’s going on? When “Triple C” earned a split-decision nod against the only man to hold the title prior to in Demitrious Johnson, a scramble and uncertainty began. He first defended his belt against TJ Dillashaw but then immediately went to Bantamweight and captured what was the vacant title in absence of the suspended Dillashaw. Cejudo then went full cringe in the attempt of securing a big name fight, and yet he has landed on the winless in his last two fights Jose Aldo at UFC 250. Even with recent proclaims by Cejudo’s management that he will return to the Flyweight division after his fight with Aldo, fight fans are left pondering the state of the division yet again.
Or is it…Dana White has confirmed that he is working on a rematch between Benavidez and Figueiredo, saying, “I think the headbutt had a lot to do with the KO,” following it up by stating that both fighters deserve a rematch for the title. If the rematch does happen, will we see Deiveson Figueiredo put down the after fight pizza and make championship weight, following through with his commitment to being a champion or will the UFC get their wish and crown Benavidez king? Only time will tell, until then the “casual fan” will forget about the division while we look forward to Brendan Moreno vs. Jussier Formiga.