At UFC on Versus 6’s post-fight presser, Dana White promised a new division stocked with micro-sized fighters to root for – the flyweights – and predicted the addition of this new weight class to the Octagon early next year. Which, of course, begs the question: Where are these diminutive warriors going to come from? All jokes about the verdant fight circuits of Lilliput and Oz’s Munchkin Land aside, UFC talent prospectors have the luxury of being able to cull from their own ranks, as a number of their bantamweights have designs on making a splash at 125 (top 135-pound challenger Demetrious Johnson claims to want to stay put, despite being undersized, but TUF 14 competitor Louis Gaudinot stated on Twitter yesterday that “one of these days you’re going to see me with the flyweight title”). Who else is there? Hey, guess what. Organizations like Shooto, Tachi Palace Fights and Ring of Combat have been utilizing this subatomic weight class for years – which means there’s 125-pound talent out there, and the best and most Octagon-worthy of it has risen to the top of the heap. Here, then, are five flyweight dudes to look out for when the UFC opens the division up. Feel free to drop their names at your next cocktail party.
-Ian McCall – The man who sits atop Tachi Palace Fights flyweight hill is nicknamed “Uncle Creepy” and it’s a fitting moniker, as he looks like he has no less than eight restraining orders filed against him at all times. However, with his solid grappling and durability, McCall can fight, and by “fight”, I mean “crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentations of their women” fight. Seriously, he’s that good. If Dana White wanted to start the division off with a title fight and one of the competitors was McCall, that would be just fine.
-Jussier Da Silva – The cream of Brazil’s Shooto franchise, Da Silva is a Nova Uniao exponent and about what you’d expect from an academy known for churning out jiu-jitsu demons, i.e., he’s elite on the ground. The only black mark on his record is a loss to the aforementioned McCall, but, like I said, McCall is a monster.
-Yasuhiro Urushitani – A Japanese Shooto champ who’s been at it since 2001, Urushitani can strike and has got the edge in experience over just about everyone out there. His notable wins include decisions over Robson Moura, Daniel Lima and a bunch of other guys you’ve never heard of if you don’t follow the Japanese MMA scene with a microscope.
-Sean Santella – The Northeast’s current king of the smallest weight classes, Santella is what you’d get if you taught Speedy Gonzales wrestling and jiu-jitsu and then fed him a block of cheese mixed with crystal meth. In fact, he moves so fast, I’ve seen cageside judges break down in tears because they couldn’t keep track of all the things Santella was doing in a single round.
-Mamoru Yamaguchi – Remember how I said Urushitani has the edge in experience over just about everyone? Former Shooto and King of the Cage champ Yamaguchi is one of those rare exceptions. This cat has been at it since 1999 and has won by a variety of submissions and knockout blows, and though he sports losses to Da Silva and Urishitani, give him his due. He’s been putting away little guys back when you were in grade school.