UFC 156 plays host to an important flyweight bout between former 125-pound tournament veterans Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez. Both men reside in the top five of the division and have challenged current champion Demetrious Johnson for the title.

Now, two of the only high-profile flyweights on the roster—the two with the best chance to topple “Mighty Mouse”—meet each other. Is this the right fight to make, or is the lack of depth in the flyweight division forcing the UFC’s hand?

It is safe to say that the winner of this fight will likely get the next crack at the champ. McCall and Benavidez are the best two flyweights behind Johnson and would give him the best fight at this time. They also stand as the only credible opponents for Johnson in the eyes of fight fans.

Most people want this fight to happen, but it can be argued that matching these two up with other flyweights would have been a more logical route for the UFC to take.

Let’s assume the McCall and Benavidez were given separate opponents. If the fighter facing either McCall or Benavidez won, they would emerge as a new challenger for Johnson. It would give the flyweight title picture a bit more variety, rather than making it into a three-man show.

For instance, John Moraga and Louis Gaudinot are two guys McCall and Benavidez could have entertained in the cage.

Moraga, with his nasty striking and good wrestling background, looks like he could be a win or two away from meeting the champ. He has already posted victories over Ulysses Gomez and Chris Cariaso, but what he lacks is a win over someone who has already been established as a top-shelf flyweight.

Gaudinot was tough at bantamweight, but looked sharp in beating a much larger John Lineker in his flyweight debut for the UFC. The upset win was impressive, but Gaudinot’s experience is limited and fans still see him as a guy who couldn’t conquer The Ultimate Fighter, so why would they see him as a potential title challenger unless he overcomes McCall or Benavidez.

Of course, it also doesn’t help that the UFC only has 13 flyweights employed under the company banner. Variety and numerous top contenders are hard to come by. And because of this, McCall vs. Benavidez was almost made by default due the lack of roster depth.

It is also a safe fight, because McCall and Benavidez would likely derail any rising star at this point. This would kill the momentum of one of the few hot commodities in the division. By pairing Benavidez and McCall, the UFC allows other emerging contenders a chance to continue building their reputation before running into such a huge potential stumbling block. And it creates the most significant flyweight fight outside of the division’s championship tilts.

However, where does the division go when that business gets sorted out?

This fight is a quick fix for the next title fight, but until the UFC commits to hiring new talent and sorting out its rankings below the trio of fighters atop the division, challengers will be few and far between.

Photo: Joseph Benavidez (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.