In 2009, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) fell short on its promise to deliver a flyweight division. After the WEC merger with the UFC, however, the flyweight division was announced in 2011. Through the years, the 125-pound weight class has gained momentum and acquired a significant amount of talent.

In 2011, by way of a four-man tournament featuring Demetrious Johnson, Ian McCall, Yasuhiro Urushitani and Joseph Benavidez, a flyweight champion was crowned. Fans witnessed “Mighty Mouse” Johnson walk away with the inaugural flyweight championship belt.

On June 14, Johnson looks to defend his title against Ali Bagautinov, but this time he will be headlining the first-ever flyweight pay-per-view main event. In his last three bouts, Johnson saw success against the likes of John Dodson, John Moraga and the aforementioned Benavidez.

In each fight, Johnson brings another threat into the UFC Octagon. He’s always improving. Johnson is also regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC, if not the very best.

Johnson will meet Bagautinov in a main event that is likely to earn “Performance of the Night” honors. Bagautinov isn’t a household name, but in less than a year he has made a strong argument for a title shot with wins over the ever-durable Tim Elliott and John Lineker. Bagautinov poses a threat with a wealth of knowledge and accomplishments in a variety of combat sports.

Following the champion are the top five in line: Dodson, Benavidez, McCall, Bagautinov, and Moraga. With this talented lineup, it only makes sense to bring more awareness to the division. Here’s where fight fans benefit: You could throw all six names in a hat, draw any two, and you’d have a fantastic fight.

Last weekend, we saw Dodson take out Moraga with a devastating kick and subsequent doctor’s stoppage. This Saturday night, we will know the outcome of Mighty Mouse’s defense against Bagautinov.

That fight result will leave Dodson, McCall and Benavidez in interesting positions. Perhaps another four-man tournament is in order following the main event Saturday. After the flyweights debut on a main event pay-per-view platform, the fans will demand the fast-paced, high-energy, relentless strikers and submission artists back in the spotlight.

Outside of the top five, the flyweights stand strong. The top 15 fighters have consistently provided exciting match-ups and extraordinary talent. The future of the 125-pound division is strong.

Tommy Toe Hold put it best when he said:

“Everybody at the top is a legit contender… what we know about that division: that it’s competitive, exciting, constantly changing, and just overall kick ass.”

It’s their time to shine.

About The Author

Stacey Lynn
Staff Writer

Stacey Lynn was introduced to MMA in 2007. She stumbled upon training MMA after falling in love with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. Stacey graduated with her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in October of 2012 and balances her work as an MMA writer with being a full time psychologist.