The UFC flyweight division is synonymous with Demetrious Johnson. When the division was inaugurated, “Mighty Mouse” won the four-man tournament to become the first man to hold the title. He then went on to defend it a record 11 times, becoming the most dominant champion in the history of MMA. Now the division, like Johnson, is on its way out of the UFC.
After losing his title in a controversial split decision to Henry Cejudo at UFC 227, Johnson made more history, becoming part of the first trade between major MMA promotions when the UFC sent him to ONE Championship in exchange for Ben Askren. Johnson’s exit precipitated rumors that the UFC intended to shutter the 125 pound division by 2019 and, in an interview with BJPenn.com, Johnson revealed that he is not at all surprised by the decision.
“I mean they were talking about closing it two years ago,” Johnson said recently. “It’s not the first time they’ve ever brought it up, you know? They were talking about closing when I was a champion, and I was like ‘okay, it is what it is…
“The UFC was planning on getting rid of flyweight division when I was the champion — finishing people, not taking people to decision, people.”
UFC President Dana White has long had a contentious relationship with the flyweight division, partly because the perception that the division couldn’t draw well but also because of his problems with the division’s kingpin. White previously threatened to fold the division as a means of leverage over Johnson, but backed down when that threat proved unsuccessful. Now that Johnson is gone though, it appears the UFC is moving full steam ahead on leaving the flyweight division behind them, and not everyone is happy about the decision. Aside from the numerous UFC flyweights who have spoken out against the move, the UFC biggest star, Conor McGregor, also weighed in, Tweeting that ONE Championship should sign the entire roster of laid off UFC flyweights.
You must now take all the 125lbers that have been let go, Chatri.
You talk all of this Martial Art and respect talk, yet your greed has directly cost more than half a fighting division it’s chance to earn income for their family.
Have respect @YODCHATRI.
Sign the division.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 8, 2018
Johnson was thoroughly confused by McGregor’s comment, defending his new boss and arguing that if he is so bothered by the decision, McGregor is one of the few fighters – perhaps the only fighter – who could do anything to stop it.
“I don’t get where this logic comes behind that,” Johnson said. “What makes him think Chatri owes somebody something?”
“If he’s worried flyweights losing their jobs, I’m pretty sure he has a huge stake in the UFC company now,. I’m sure he can go to Dana, and be like Dana, ‘Keep these guys, these guys are fucking amazing. Let’s try to do this right. Let’s try to promote them.’ Facilitate a meeting of those who can [change things], with Proper Whiskey. ‘Let’s sit down and have a good talk.’ I’m sure he could come up with something if he really wanted to do it.”
“As I said, that’s Conor’s opinion of what he thinks should happen. This is a guy who just business, you know, the Barclay’s Center [thing], throwing the dolly in the bus, hurting multiple people. I truly think he doesn’t care. But that’s just my personal opinion.”
Like McGregor though, the flyweight division is no longer Johnson’s concern. Now the former champion is looking to bounce back from his first loss in seven years by storming ONE Championship and taking at least one belt with him.
“I want to be a champion,” Johnson said. “I know it’s not going to be easy. I’m just looking forward to being able to do my best over at ONE Championship and see where we go from there.”
Title Shot. Dana White on what’s next for Kamaru Usman: ‘I want to see the Woodley fight’.
$$$$. UFC’s new PPV split could be worth $65 million a year.
Well, you’re wrong, Kelvin.
Rizin confessions, with Mayweather and Tenshin.
Fighters who exceeded expectations.
No. No he doesn’t.
Even if you don’t care about boxing, this is worth a watch. Insane 12th round from Wilder-Fury.
Severe MMA. Discussing this weekend’s double header and McGregor-Poirier 2.
6th Round. Immediate post-fight reaction to UFC Adelaide.
6th Round. Immediate post-fight reaction to the TUF 28 Finale.
So much for retirement.
@ChaelSonnen so you want me to kick your ass again? This time I’m not going to choke you out. I’m going to beat you down. Or are just infatuated by the way I live.?
— Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) December 3, 2018
Max killing DC.
Mirko is the freaking best.
(For those of you who can’t figure out how to use Google translate)
Damn. Best wishes.
Been in the hospital with the boys all weekend. King is a little worse than Saint but both are doing good. They just had trouble breathing and are on oxygen. Hopefully they will be released by the end of the week pic.twitter.com/IclhoyQo33
— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) December 3, 2018
Moving on up.
Incredible photo for the boxing heads out there.
If Gvozdyk beats Stevenson he’s world champion with Usyk and Lomachenko. They got a combined amateur record 1016-32. They’ll have 10 world titles with a pro record of just 42-1 between them.
(Stretsky is now 6-1-1 in the pro’s and the ‘Polish’ middleweight champion) pic.twitter.com/reHDhTQhOp
— Gary William® (@_GaryWilliam_) November 29, 2018
Mariusz Pudzianowski (12-6) vs. Szymon Kolecki (6-1); KSW 47, March 23.
2008: Miguel Torres stopped Manny Tapia with punches at WEC 37, retaining his bantamweight title.
There was an impossible amount of fights this weekend. If you didn’t get to see them all, I hope you checked out all of our coverage. Our team busted their collective asses and I think they produced some of the best content out there, so if you missed anything, go check it out.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
Who wins this weekend?
251 votes total Vote Now