According to MMAFighting.com, Dana White is set to announce this weekend at UFC 140 that the Flyweight class (116 pounds to 125 pounds) is coming to the UFC.
The move comes a little over a year after the UFC officially absorbed the WEC’s talent roster, establishing the UFC Bantamweight (135) and Featherweight (145) divisions in the process. Shortly after, Dana White started talking about the eventual Flyweight class.
Speculated to join the division are current Bantamweights Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, Joseph Benavidez, and The Ultimate Fighter 14′s Bantamweight winner, John Dodson.
The overwhelming focus seems to be on which Bantamweights will make the jump down in weight, but I’m personally more intrigued by the new fighters this will bring into the promotion. And I predict that the promotion’s first star is likely one that is not currently under contract with Zuffa.
Who that may be remains a mystery. But what often gets overlooked is the fact that cutting down a weight class gets exponentially harder the lower you get. When Bantamweights and Featherweights were added last year, a lot of the talk was on which Lightweights (155) would make the cut down to Featherweight, with the speculation being that we would suddenly see a mass exodus. It didn’t quite happen that way, and thus far those that did make the jump – guys like Tyson Griffin and George Roop – have flamed out in their attempts to be the big dogs in the puppy kennel.
But cutting down to 145 pounds is a tough proposition when you’re already cutting weight to make 155, simply because you don’t have the extra expendable mass that bigger fighters have. In many ways, even though there’s a difference of fifteen pounds between Light Heavyweight and Middleweight, it’s easier to make that jump than to make it from 155 to 145. Which is also why the weight classes in MMA are set up the way they are.
Guys like Dodson and Johnson already walk around (and weigh in) below 135 for their fights, so the cut likely won’t be as tough for them. But anybody currently at Bantamweight and Featherweight who thinks they’re just going to make the cut to 125 and find immediate success is going to be in for a rude awakening…particularly in the coming months when the establishment of the division sees an infusion of international talent.
The announcement of Flyweights will make for great fights, but also some intriguing roster shifts. Stay tuned.