The UFC has stated that they desire to establish a flyweight division. In fact, UFC president Dana white has said that they would do it “sooner than you think.” While that answer is somewhat ambiguous, I believe that the division in on the UFC radar for 2011. The question is, how exactly do they craft and promote a brand new division. I believe that the answer is quite simple. They need marketable fighters. The UFC is known for having the best fighters ine ach division and the flyweight division would be no exception.
I believe the first thing to happen will be that UFC bantamweight fighter Joseph Benavidez will be a cornerstone of the new division. Benavidez is smaller than his bantamweight counterparts, but has still maanged to establish himself as a top 5 fighter in that division. Benavidez fights on Sunday against Ian Loveland. I believe that this is an important fight for Benavidez and the hopes of a new flyweight division. The UFC would like him to have some momentum going into a new division.
Also, it is widely regarded that current Tachi Palace flyweigh champion, Ian McCall is the world’s best flyweight. He has defeated Jussier da Silva and Darrell Montague. “Uncle Creepy” is a WEC veteran who has made clear his desire to be a part of the new division. I believe there is mutual interest from UFC. I do not believe the division could be started without McCall.
I believe that the UFC would also need to target Jussier da Silva, who is coming off of a win over Mamorou Yamaguchi. The division could not thrive with just 3 or 4 fighters. They would need to sign 10-15 guys or find several guys at 135 pounds who could drop down. There are several guys who fit that mold. bantamweight number one contender Demetrious Johnson could eventually make his way down. The Ultimate Fighter 14 is expected to feature a few guys who could also fight at 125 lbs. Including, John Dodson and Louis Gaudinot. Ulysses Gomez is a flyweight with upside in the division as well. Despite coming off of losses at Tachi Palace 10 I believe the UFC should look strongly at Darrell Montague and Mamorou Yamaguchi who are both top 5 flyweights. The UFC could also lock up Asian fighter Rambaa “M16” Somdet.
It is unclear how a title picture would work out. If I had a vote I think that Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall both could merit a fight for a title from the onset. Having a champion is a division makes it way more compelling.