Friday, June 10, 2011

The UFC Hasn't Forgotten About the Flyweights, Division to Be Added 'ASAP'

Dana White answers questions from a list of topics in this Fight Day interview -- deal with G4, Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez, climate in Vancouver, etc. But, let's focus on the little guys for a change.

At the 4:14 mark, Megan Olivi asks Dana White about the 125 lb. division coming to the UFC. White confirmed that it is coming, adding that it will happen "ASAP." No specific information was offered but this is might be the most we've heard on the subject since the UFC-WEC merger last Fall. Of course, we can and probably should take Dana's response with a grain of salt, but for now it's all we have to go on.

In fact, I think so much has happened since then, most notably the UFC's purchase of Strikeforce, that the whole flyweight issue has taken a backseat, really more like a bumper seat, to other issues. But, what's very peculiar about this situation is the timing. Is it a coincidence that the UFC would finally consider implementing the 125 lb. division while they are also network shopping? I recall an article by Zach Arnold in FightOpinion that nicely summed up the whole UFC flyweight prospect. A commentor, "45 Huddle," made a prophetic statemtent, offering a set of circumstances that would provide the UFC with the appropriate timing for flyweight division implementation. Peep the bolded items:

November 1, 2010 at 9:59 am

1) The only chance the Flyweight Division had of being created now was if the UFC merged the WEC Lightweight Division into the UFC…. Kept the WEC afloat, and then added Flyweight to make up for the lost division.

2) Now is not the time for Flyweight. It does stink for the guys like Benevidez, but such is life. The UFC needs 1 or 2 full years with 7 divisions, get all the kinks out (because there will be a few), and then go for the 8th and last division.

3) I could be wrong, but I think with 7 or 8 UFC Divisions, the chances of seeing a free Title Fight has now just increased. If they get on Network Television, it is basically a guarantee. Even without it, they could still put the least attractive title fights on free television. A Bantamweight Title Fight without Urijah Faber would be a perfect example.

Huddle might just have a point. If the UFC were to establish its own television network, that would free up a lot of the programming issues with managing fights in eight weight divisions. In addition, we'd probably get to see some free title fights as a result.

This is all definitely more than happenstance. With Zuffa shopping around for a television station to call its full-time home, the idea of adding a flyweight division may have just gotten closer to becoming a reality.

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While we're gearing up for the UFC's flyweight division, it might be a good idea to start getting acquainted with the division's top talent. The bulk of quality 125lbers are still being pumped out of Japananese promotions Pancrase, and Shooto. As far as American talent goes, Tachi Palace fights boasts fighters like Ian McCall, Jussier da Silva, and Darrell Montague. Then there's long-time Japanese cage vet Mamoru Yamaguchi who has already imported his talents stateside to King of the Cage and Tachi Palace.

Also, some current UFC fighters like Demetrious Johnson and Damacio Page might consider cutting downn to 125, if it should actually be implemented. It might also provide softer lightweight, featherweights, and bantamweights like Chris Horodecki (lightweight) the chance to cut down to 125 and re-enter the UFC's ranks (yes I do believe he can make 125). Former WEC/UFC bantamweight Will Campuzano has already made the move to 125, since receiving his UFC walking papers earlier this year. A successful run at 125 lbs. could earn Campuzan a UFC return, but of course, none of this means anything until Dana White makes the 125 lb. division a reality in the UFC.

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