For a long, long time, I wished that somehow the 125-pound division was going to take its rightful place in the Octagon. I kept hearing from Zuffa staff about how there are not enough fights for the company to be able to put the 125-pounders in there just yet. But, when Dana wants something, he snaps his fingers and it happens, it seems. In this case, it wasn’t a moment too soon.
So, how great is this flyweight tournament going to be? Demetrious Johnson will face Tachi Palace Fights champ Ian McCall. If that was not enough, Joseph Benavidez will face the Shooto world champ Yasuhiro Urushitani.
Neither Johnson nor Benavidez seemed overjoyed in recent months leading up to this event, answering constant questions about cutting down to 125 pounds. Both told me they had been working on bulking up to fight bantamweights. But, of course, as we all knew would happen once 125 opened up, both Benavidez and Johnson jumped at the opportunity to fight in this mini-tournament.
I’m already going to go out and call the McCall- Johnson fight a real “Fight of the Year” candidate. I have had the pleasure of witnessing firsthand the 125-pound fighters getting ready for the big show by battling each other at the Tachi Palace Fights. Of course, there’s no doubting the quality of Benavidez and Johnson: they are both UFC studs that have been at the top of a division that we kept saying they were too small to fight in. The only man Benavidez has fallen to is Dominick Cruz, the same man who ended Johnson’s winning streak.
It’s not just those four, though. Fighters like Jussier da Silva, Mamoru Yamaguchi, and Darrell Montague will help make the flyweight division a must-watch in the UFC. Once the casual fans get to witness these amazing athletes, they are sure to be a hit. These fighters will be able to carry a card down the road much sooner than people imagine, and will help make any card they’re on better. Fighters like these are what made WEC and now Tachi Palace Fights a must-see experience for fight fans around the world.
And, Dana White and the UFC also brought MMA to Fox, so the fans get to watch MMA on free, primetime network TV. How is that not better than the pair of tighty whities Santa used to leave under the tree for you?
Dana and Zuffa have helped the sport of MMA progress so much this year alone that every MMA fan needs to send them a Christmas card. I’d be curious to see how many of you actually would. Even if it is a little late, that’s alright. It will still show our appreciation for what they have done and what they continue to do. I will even make it easy for you.
2960 West Sahara Avenue, Suite 100
Las Vegas, NV
Treat it like a “Secret Santa” situation. And, once Christmas is over and done with, let the countdown to March 3 begin!