UFC 152 was supposed to be the introduction of the flyweight division to the world. Yes, we were given a preview in the semifinals of the flyweight tournament, but this was their moment to shine.
Benavidez-Johnson was the main event, there was no other fight that was going to get more publicity than the flyweight title fight, but then the UFC 151 debacle happened. Benavidez and Johnson were pushed down to co-main event while Jon Jones and Vitor Belfort would take over as the main event.
For now Benavidez and Johnson will now be in a very familiar spot: the shadow of the larger fighters. After two losses to bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, Joseph Benavidez was forced into prelim fights against lesser competition because he wasn’t going to earn another title shot. The same can be said for johnson, who also lost to Cruz.
Now as flyweights they are at the forefront of the division. Two of the top bantamweights will now have the opportunity to be the first ever UFC flyweight champion, but for both fighters they will need to do the same thing they did when the featherweight and bantamweights came in.
Neither WEC division garnered much interest as a whole because the fighters aren’t freakishly big or muscular, but what they lacked in size they made up for in technique and speed. This is the same thing Benavidez and Johnson will do for the flyweights.
Even at his natural weight of 125 pounds Johnson is one of the fastest fighters in the division and Benavidez still showed serious knockout power in his fight with Yasuhiro Urushitani.
Although, they have been relegated to the co-main event Johnson and Benavidez will attempt to do something both have done before: have the Fight of the Night.
The flyweights will try to steal the show and give fans the fight of the night, if not the year. Benavidez and Johnson want to show that the lighter weight classes, especially flyweight, deserve to headline a show and can be just as big a PPV buy as middleweight and light heavyweight.
It may not be at that level yet, but there is no doubt that with fighters like Benavidez and Johnson representing the flyweight division it should be only a matter of time before the lighter weight classes are just as big a draw as the others in the UFC.