Is the start of UFC on ESPN actually the tip for the flyweights within the octagon? In that case, how will we really feel when the 125-pounders are not any extra? Retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes joins MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes to debate on this week’s Buying and selling Pictures.
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Fowlkes: So right here we’re lower than per week out from the UFC’s debut on ESPN, headlined by what very effectively might transform the final males’s flyweight title battle in UFC historical past. Isn’t that bizarre to consider, Danny? Not solely that a complete division might simply vanish quickly, but additionally that we simply don’t know whether or not or not it is going to.
I imply, on one hand you might have the UFC remaining non-committal and re-signing flyweights like Joseph Benavidez to new contracts. On the opposite, you’ve acquired bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw straight up saying that he’s being paid to “kill” the division by dropping down and beating flyweight champion Henry Cejudo.
Say it occurs identical to that. Say Dillashaw wins, takes the belt again as much as bantamweight, and Dana White throws his arms within the air like, guess that settles it. How will you bear in mind the flyweights when it’s throughout? How would you clarify what occurred right here to a brand new fan who sees this loopy sport for the primary time on ESPN and decides to begin following it? Most significantly, how unhappy would you be?
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Downes: I assume I received’t actually be that unhappy. And I received’t even resort to the disingenuous “There are hungry individuals on the planet and also you’re apprehensive about this?” line of assault (though I nonetheless reserve the suitable to go there). I really feel unhealthy for the fighters sitting in limbo and not sure the right way to proceed, however that’s the place it ends. There can be no scarcity of fights to look at.
One fringe profit if males’s flyweight disappears is that it’s going to lastly put an finish to the last word MMA hipster debate. You and your different buddies within the so-called media have been telling individuals for years that in case you don’t like 125-pound fights, “you’re not a real MMA fan.”
Admittedly, there was a faction of followers/trolls who would crap on any flyweight battle, however simply because the chorus “flyweights are boring” was devoid of essential considering, there can be the alternative group proclaiming any C+ battle as a feat of technical mastery. I’d moderately debate Pepsi vs. Coke or “May Jack have match on the door?” than be subjected to extra “Can flyweights draw?”
As for a way I’ll bear in mind the flyweight period, I suppose I’ll merely consider it as Demetrious Johnson’s division. It’s a testomony to “Mighty Mouse’s” dominance, but additionally the dearth of another actual storylines.
That’s to not say that there weren’t different nice fighters or performances, however when there’s MMA on each week, what’s one division? What number of iconic flyweight fights are you able to identify? It’s possible you’ll not like how the UFC goes about issues, however will you even discover it’s gone?
Pictures: Better of Henry Cejudo
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Fowlkes: I assume it relies upon what turns into of the fighters left behind. If many of the flyweights find yourself as bantamweights with out difficulty, perhaps we received’t discover the absence of the flyweights. In fact, each on occasion we’ll hear about what “Mighty Mouse” is as much as over in ONE Championship and we’ll bear in mind, oh yeah, one of many biggest to ever strap on a pair of gloves isn’t round these components anymore.
That’s the half that also appears loopy to me once I image myself speaking to our hypothetical new ESPN fan. Johnson is a vital fighter within the historical past of this sport, and his profession continues to be ongoing. He’s a pound-for-pound nice, statistically essentially the most dominant champion the UFC has ever had. Then he misplaced one debatable resolution after six years of complete perfection, and the UFC dealt him away like some mediocre aid pitcher.
How do you clarify that? “Properly, see, he was good at his sport however he was by no means that worthwhile for the sports activities firm.” If I’m John Q. ESPN Fan, right here’s the place I take a pair steps again and marvel what sort of world I’m getting into right here.
Pictures: Better of T.J. Dillashaw
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Downes: As a result of the UFC is the primary group to put earnings over athletes? I don’t know who this John Q. man is, however until he’s by no means heard of the Nationwide Soccer League, you in all probability received’t have a troublesome time explaining the destiny of flyweights.
Additionally the truth that I requested you to call some iconic flyweight fights and your first response was to carry up Johnson going to ONE needs to be telling. There are a variety of nice flyweight fighters, however it’s a shallow division. It’s not the one one (e.g. gentle heavyweight), nevertheless it doesn’t make sense to discontinue that division.
I like watching Kyoji Horiguchi battle. Do I want he had been within the UFC? Certain, however he appears to be doing all proper for himself preventing at bantamweight in Japan.
Possibly it’s as a result of I began watching “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix, however all of us want to want to de-clutter a bit – even fight sports activities organizations. Flyweight fighters will make the changes.
What number of elite 125-pound male fighters do you assume can be out of their aspect at bantamweight? Benavidez, John Moraga, Jussier Formiga and others can be wonderful. Are you apprehensive in regards to the destiny of Magomed Bibulatov? Is he even on the roster? What number of flyweight tales have you ever written within the final three years?
We are able to blame the UFC advertising and marketing technique and a dozen different issues for the destiny of the flyweights. But when they by no means registered with you, somebody who’s paid to cowl the game, who’s actually at fault?
For extra on UFC on ESPN+ 1, try the UFC Rumors part of the positioning.
Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has additionally written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Comply with them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.
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