As the men’s flyweight division in the UFC remains in peril, Deiveson Figueiredo is the latest flyweight who’s delivered a welcome message to Dana White in an effort to make sure the 125 bracket stays.
As 2018 continues to wind down, the expectation is that the men’s flyweight division will likely be shuttered by the UFC, sometime in early 2019. There’s been rumors that the promotion has been contemplating cutting the division for a while now, and after former champ Demetrious Johnson moved to ONE, that speculation spiked. Even some flyweight fighters, who have been cut by the UFC, have said they were let go because the division is not long for the UFC.
Well, White has yet to say whether the flyweight division is going to be cut, but he has acknowledged that it’s future is unclear. Recently the promotion announced that Figueiredo is going to face fellow, top contender Joseph Benavidez at UFC 233, January 26th. In follow-up interview with Globo Esporte Para, Figueiredo had this message for the UFC President (quotes via Bloody Elbow):
“I wasn’t told anything yet,” Figueiredo said while discussing the future of the division. “If I must move up, you can be sure I’ll put on a show just the same. They’re saying the division will end, but I’m sure it won’t. If it’s up to me, it won’t. My fight against Benavidez will be a great one and will make it clear to Dana why he can’t erase our division. I have mission in this division, this mission is to win the belt and become an icon of the sport. So, Dana White, I’ll make it clear to you and the world why the division must go on.”
Sure, some folks will argue that White isn’t going to be swayed by comments like this right now, in terms of whether the UFC keeps the division around or not. But, these statements are helping build an interesting storyline for the bout with Benavidez, and the division as a whole. Most hardcore fight fans appreciate the fact flyweights provide some of the most entertaining and technical action in MMA, so any additional attention the fighters can bring to the division will help keep it around.
As Benavidez alluded to recently, there is the potential for some really interesting match-ups at 125 in the coming months. If Henry Cejudo defeats TJ Dillashaw on January 19th, his next bout, whether it’s against the latter at 135 or a title defense at 125, will bring more eyes to the flyweight division.
If Dillashaw becomes a champ-champ, then he could defend the 125 belt against his former teammate in Benavidez, or the undefeated Figueiredo (who, let’s remember, if he defeats Benavidez will become just the fourth man to have done so). Cejudo – Benavidez II or Cejudo – Figueiredo are compelling as well.
So, there are some really intriguing possibilities on the horizon for the 125 division. Let’s hope we get to see it play out.