With a dominant title defense still fresh in the minds of MMA fans, I thought it’d be fitting to see where this developing division stands as of now. The UFC has been hard at work at bringing in both outside and inside talent to the fairly-new flyweight division, and so far it’s been nothing but success. While there isn’t much attention directed toward the 125 lb’ers, there is a bit of speculation as to who is next for Demetrious “Might Mouse” Johnson. The only man to ever threaten him on the scorecards, Joseph Benavidez, was knocked out in a rematch, so as far as I’m concerned, it’s anyone’s game.
Like I previously stated, the door to Demetrious Johnson’s title is wide open at this point with his 1st round knockout win over Benavidez. There’s been some talk going on about how former title-contender, John Dodson, deserves a second go at him after some early success in their bout. Unfortunately, he’s already booked, just like much of the flyweight division is. It appears as if Demetrious Johnson may have to sit out for quite a long period of time before the next worthy title contender is clear.
Top Contender Bouts
John Dodson vs. Zach Makovsky
The only man to have recently put Johnson in any form of trouble came by the hands of John Dodson. Even though he lost the decision in the end, Dodson increased his stock and could very well have a reservation for that title if he gets one more win in his pocket. He rebounded from the failed title fight with a sensational first-round knockout over flyweight prospect Darrell Montague, and now faces another prospect in Zach Makovsky. Originally coming from Bellator, Makovsky made quite the UFC appearance by outpointing UFC veteran Scott Jorgensen in Jorgensen’s flyweight debut. With a solid start to his UFC career, he’s reaching way up the totem pole in this fight with John Dodson, which will go down sometime in the late Spring of 2014.
John Moraga vs. Dustin Ortiz
Moraga gave valiant efforts in his title fight against Johnson, but fell victim to the high-paced wrestling and grappling game which eventually led to a 5th round armbar loss. Now, he rebounds against 1-0 UFC flyweight Dustin Ortiz, who made an explosive debut by knockout out Brazilian flyweight representative, Jose Tome. This bout, scheduled for UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Philippou, may not seem to have many title implications, but if Ortiz can score another win here, his resume becomes at the top of the list when determining the number one contender. For Moraga, it’s a chance to solidify his name as a top-ranked fighter, and given that his last fight was against the champion, he’s in the perfect spot to do just that.
Ali Bagautinov vs. John Lineker
Two of the most explosive flyweights on the roster will collide at UFC 169 to possibly determine the true number one contender. Both Bagautinov and Lineker started out as up-and-comers, and now they face eachother. Lineker brings an impressive 4 fight win streak (all bouts inside the UFC) to this fight against Ali’s 10 (2 of them in the UFC). Both fighters are known for their explosive knockout power, and seeing as how the champion had some troubles against John Dodson’s power, these two really have the chance at harnessing some serious momentum if either of them win big.
Other Top Contenders:
Ian McCall – “Uncle Creepy”, while heavily favored, struggled a bit to retain his top-contender status after losing to Joseph Benavidez in what was his “rebound” fight from losing to Demetrious Johnson. The consecutive loss knocked McCall down the rankings, but with his decision win over Illiarde Santos in the books, McCall is now back to being considered for a slot among the elite. He faces former bantamweight UFC contender, Brad Pickett, in Pickett’s 125lb debut. This should be an explosive affair as both fighters like to stand-and-bang, but make no mistake about it, McCall wants to get right back in line for that title shot. This bout against Pickett will take place at UFC Fight Night: Gustaffson vs. Manuwa
Scott Jorgensen – Even though he lost his flyweight debut to an “outsider”, Scott Jorgensen still remains as a potential top contender. While he is inexperienced at flyweight, his bantamweight resume should speak for itself when compared to other fighters in the flyweight division. I’m eager to see what impact Jorgensen will make at 125lbs, and especially interested as to see how he’ll rebound from the minor upset.
Other Flyweight Bouts:
Chris Cariaso vs. Kyoji Horiguchi at UFC 169
Will Campuzano vs. Darrell Montague at UFC 171