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The Battle Rages On For Legitimacy At 125lbs.
Since the UFC’s introduction of the Flyweight division, back in 2011, we have seen some pretty awesome 125lb. scraps. The division is known for it’s super high pace, and can produce epic performances. Yet it still is subject to scrutany from many MMA fans and critics.
I’ve heard people say ‘They rushed the process of adding the division’, or that there isn’t enough knockouts. For me, the introduction of another division adds more matchups, another set of title fights and room to breath for fighters, weight wise. A common counter argument is that 125-45 tends to thin out quite often.
During the four man tournament for the inaugral Flyweight crown, it was almost like people didn’t take the title seriously. There were a lot of jokes being made about the stature of fighters like Demetrious Johnson and, although it was more jest than anything, I sensed a vibe of indifference in relation to the fighters. These guys are the same as any other weight class, they obviously have to tailor their styles for higher pace, as do Heavyweights to avoid being knocked out.
The Featherweight division in the UFC has flourished since the merging of WEC, Jose Aldo has been the driving force since unifying the belt back in 2010. Which brings me to my next point: The Flyweight division needs a star.
Jose Aldo, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva/Chris Weidman, GSP, Cain Velasquez, Dominick Cruz and the list goes on. These are all big names associated with a number of Weight Divisions. The fact is that if a division is to flourish, it first needs big names with fan bases.
In the early days of the UFC Lightweight division, when Jens Pulver was the inaugral champion, the 155ers were probably looked at in the same light. Stars like Pulver, Bj Penn, Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson have helped the division garner the respect it deserves.
I think is only a matter of time before we see the Flyweight division being looked at as a legitimate force. Guys like Joseph Benavidez, Mighty Mouse, Darren Uyenoyama, John Moraga, John Dodson and many more can help get the division to that stage. Although it will take time, there is a lot of potential at 125lbs.
All these fighters can do is continue to put on great shows, grab the attention of fans and UFC brass, and hopefully get their names on the list of MMA/UFC legends in the years to come.