It’s been a bit of a wild time for the UFC’s lightest men’s division of flyweight.
Since Demetrious Johnson’s dropping of the title and departure for ONE Championship, the division has a bit of a fresh feel to it now which makes one wonder if the idea to get rid of the division is a bit premature.
Johnson, having been in the division since the absolute beginning wasn’t there alone. Also a part of the innaugural UFC 125-pound tournament was Joseph Benavidez who remains a staple to this day.
Having seen the division grow over its six year existence, Benavidez believes that now is a better time for the 125ers than ever as he told MMAJunkie.
“The flyweight division is honestly more exciting than ever. The division is really brand new, and it hasn’t seemed brand new. It seemed like it has such a long history with DJ’s title reign, but we’ve had one champion. It’s a young, young division. We’re on our second champion, and I think we let this thing breathe a little bit, and stars are going to keep coming out – fights, matchups.
It reminds me of the 185-pound weight class for a while, where Anderson Silva was so dominant that the fights at the end were just like, ‘Why is this happening?’ He had just some weird fights, and you’re like, ‘Well, he has to fight these guys because he hasn’t,’ and it made the division look stale because the champion was so dominant. When he lost to Weidman, everything opened up. Now you look at like the top eight guys, they could all be champions on one given day.”
Being one of the top guys and a former 135er, it feels safe to assume that Benavidez won’t be one of the fighters that will be let go.
However, he also doesn’t happen to know anything in regards to the situation either as he is just as confused as the rest of us.
“I don’t really have inside knowledge,” Benavidez stated. “It’s confusing. That fight week [in Denver], it was really like, ‘What the heck?’ For one, my fight got pulled, and then you start hearing all these rumors that it’s gone. People are getting cut, so I’m like, ‘Is it literally gone?’ Then, a few weeks later, they make the title fight. But even then, they were still telling me that I’m fighting at flyweight here and not really giving me much. Then they make the title fight at flyweight, so I’m like, ‘Oh, there’s still life. There’s still flyweight fights being done.’
“They stopped cutting people, so I didn’t really know what to think, but as far as mindset goes, the way I look at it – obviously nothing is certain – to me, it’s business as usual. I act like it’s a rumor, because it’s a rumor; that’s all it is. There’s always rumors about this, rumors about that, so I look at it like business as usual. What I have to do is beat Alex Perez. I have a fight at flyweight. That’s all that matters.”
Benavidez had his fight with Ray Borg for UFC Denver cancelled during fight week due to an illness on Borg’s side.
He is now set to take on Alex Perez this Friday night at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 11/28/2018