Finally the flyweight division is coming to the biggest Mixed Martial Arts Promotion in 2012. At Saturdays UFC 140, UFC President Dana White announced the 125 pound division would debut inside the Octagon in March of 2012.
Ever since the bantamweights and featherweights arrived in the UFC, talk of the flyweight division could be immediately heard. There never was a question of “if” but more of “when” the flyweights would arrive. Now with the 14th season of The Ultimate Fighter wrapped up, many of the bantamweights could / have fought at 125 lbs. so the time is right.
The new division will initially consist of four fighters that will compete in a tournament that will crown the promotions first-ever flyweight champion. The competitors in the tournament will consist of two fighters making their UFC deputes, along with two UFC vets that will be dropping down from the bantamweight division.
Top Bantamweight Demetrious Johnson will take on the former Tachi Palace Fights flyweight champion Ian McCall, while Joseph Benavidez will meet Shooto veteran Yasuhiro Urushitani.
Johnson (9-2) was scheduled to fight Eddie Wineland at January’s UFC on FOX 2 event before the latest news. Coming off his loss to UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz, “Mighty Mouse” had been on a four fight winning streak. His opponent, McCall (11-2) is currently riding a four fight winning streak and most recently defeated Darrell Montague at Tachi Palace Fight to become their flyweight champion. Though he’s making his UFC debut, “Uncle Creepy” did fight in the WEC three times where he went 1-2. Ironically one of those defeats came at the hands of the current bantamweight champ Cruz back at WEC 38.
Benavidez (15-2) has been labeled the future flyweight champion ever since the WEC merged into the UFC. The Team Alpha Male product holds notable wins over Miguel Torres, Eddie Wineland and Ian Loveland and to keep with the theme, his lone career losses came against that Cruz guy. ZUFFA newcomer Urushitani (19-4-6) brings a five-fight winning streak into his UFC debut. The Shooto bantamweight champion holds notable career wins over TUF 14 winner John Dodson and Mamoru Yamaguchi.
The four-man tourney is set to kick off at the UFC on FX 2 event thought to take place in Sydney, Australia.
Get more great MMA news, recaps and analysis over at MMA Valor.