When it comes to UFC 152 this upcoming weekend, no doubt exists in what will provide the real highlight of the night.

Sure, Michael “The Count” Bisping possesses a vast inventory of quotables that he can use to force some aggravation out of “All American” Brian Stann, and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones carries the hype surrounding the event on his shoulders as he prepares for former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort. However, Bisping vs. Stann promises more in the realm of a solid highlight-reel finish than it does in terms of a sensational bout, and most expect that Jones will make short work of Belfort. The real highlight of the evening will come in the form of the event’s original headliner, the inaugural UFC flyweight title fight between Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.

For those who need a refresher, Benavidez handed Yasuhiro Urushitani a TKO loss at UFC on FX 2 in what was not only Urushitani’s UFC debut, but also Urushitani’s first fight away from Asian soil. Urushitani consistently finds himself among the top-10 of the flyweight ranks with each performance, but he had only fought in his home country of Japan, and once in South Korea, before signing with the UFC.

Meanwhile, Johnson turned in a strong effort at the same UFC on FX 2 card opposite “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall, but the result was changed to a draw due to a scoring error. Prior to the announcement of the scoring error, the outcome was announced as a majority decision win for Johnson, though many felt McCall won the fight and should have gotten the spot against Benavidez. Nonetheless, Johnson would combat McCall in the rematch at UFC on FX 3, and this time, he would leave no doubt as he scored a unanimous decision.

Fast forward to what lies ahead at UFC 152 in Toronto.

On paper, we know what to expect, as Johnson will aim to implement his wrestling and his fast hands from the onset, and Benavidez will aim to establish his aggression early. The power in Benavidez’s hands always proves a talking point in any of the Team Alpha Male product’s fights, and the same can be said for the footwork of Johnson. However, Benavidez should know that finding a home for a solid shot never proves easy against the Matt Hume product, just as Johnson should know that one does not simply shoot in for any takedown attempt on Benavidez.

The reason why this fight will steal the show and prove itself as the real highlight of the night, however, has more to do with the fight beyond what shows up on paper. Both men talk about wanting it more than the man across the cage from their foe, but both backed it through their performances inside the Octagon by pushing through to the end every time and never allowing themselves to go down in defeat. Not only do these men exhibit the heart of a champion with each fight, but also they demonstrate the very speed that defines the lighter weight classes, as both men move rapidly and never seem to stop, even when they look visibly fatigued.

In general, the flyweight division shows something that MMA fans always wanted to see, but never could get out of the standard five divisions from 155 to 265. The 125-pounders always appear to bring a level of heart, soul, grit and aggression to the Octagon—along with an impetus to command and conquer with complete conviction, which is something fans often gripe about when it comes to the heavier divisions. To put it another way, even the most conservative of flyweights fights like they want to win the fight, regardless of whether they get the win in fifteen seconds or fifteen minutes.

As it pertains to this fight, Benavidez and Johnson will compete for five rounds in UFC 152’s co-headliner with this same mindset. They will take what the other dishes out, and they will force each other to earn rounds while delivering the level of action that has defined the division. However, in the UFC’s quest to determine its first UFC flyweight champion, something must give and someone must either fold or find himself outdone.

Easier said than done, when one mentions the mere notion of Benavidez or Johnson folding, but all things are possible between now and Saturday night. Either way, both men possess the tools to deliver the fastest-paced bout in UFC history from start to finish in a surefire “Fight of The Night” winner, and a possible “Fight of The Year” candidate. When the smoke clears, the only certainty will come after the fight, when Bruce Buffer announces the official result of the bout and the name of the UFC’s first-ever flyweight champion.

The only question left is, “Will Benavidez claim the gold in Toronto, or will Johnson reign atop his division as the undisputed No. 1 flyweight in MMA?”

We’ll find out this weekend, but after all is said and done, this will emerge as the one classic encounter from UFC 152.

Photo: UFC 152’s Joseph Benavidez (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Dale De Souza
Staff Writer

Dale De Souza is a 22-year-old kid straight out of Texas, who grew up around Professional Wrestling but embraced the beauty of Mixed Martial Arts and Combat Sports at a young age. Dale is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report MMA, a writer at The MMA Corner.