The four-man flyweight tournament has had its fair share of controversy since it started in March, but it finally is set to conclude this weekend when two former bantamweight title challengers will compete for the first-ever UFC flyweight championship.

Demetrious Johnson kicked off the tournament in an incredibly exciting bout against Ian McCall at UFC on FX 2 that not only was an instant contender for “Fight of the Year” honors, but ended up providing us with one of the strangest results in UFC history when an error on the judges’ scorecards incorrectly declared Johnson the winner when the result was actually a draw.

The UFC had attempted to avoid such problems when it initiated a deciding fourth round for the tournament in the event of a draw, but the athletic commission realized the mistake too late, and Johnson was forced to battle “Uncle Creepy” for a second time.

After a more definitive victory for Johnson in the rematch at UFC on FX 3 in June, he finally was able to claim his spot in the finals opposite the fighter many picked to win immediately when the tournament was announced—Joseph Benavidez.

Benavidez completely wrecked Yasuhiro Urushitani at the same UFC on FX event that featured the draw between “Mighty Mouse” and McCall, and he’s been idly sitting on the sidelines since that night in March.

Now with the prolonged tournament finally set to come to an end this weekend, the UFC will officially have its first-ever flyweight champion, but looking into the future, it’s hard to imagine that any other fighter on the miniscule (no pun intended) 125-pound roster has done enough to warrant a shot at the belt

However, the title has to be defended sooner or later, and as both Benavidez and Johnson have remained relatively active throughout their careers, it seems likely that we’ll have another flyweight title fight by early 2013.

There are a number of 125ers chomping at the bit to get a shot at the belt in the near future, and with a huge match-up between John Dodson and Jussier “Formiga” da Silva set for UFC on FX 5 this October, the next challenger for the belt may be decided shortly enough.

Dodson has been known as one of the toughest flyweights in the world for a few years now, and after winning season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter as a bantamweight, he was able to move down to his natural weight class for his first fight since winning the reality show.

“The Magician” had a bit more trouble against UFC newcomer Tim Elliot than many fans expected, but he did enough to earn the decision win and put himself in line for a big name opponent in his next bout.

Formiga certainly fits that bill, because despite the fact that he may be largely unknown amongst UFC fans, he was considered the top flyweight on the planet just less than two years ago.

Sporting a 14-1 record, with his lone defeat coming in a Tachi Palace fight against fellow title contender Ian McCall, Formiga is a fighter that many hardcore fans have been looking to see compete at the highest level for a while now.

Formiga’s loss to McCall may end up costing him eventually, however, as “Uncle Creepy” has earned himself quite the following after entertaining performances in his two bouts against Johnson this year, and the former Tachi Palace champion cannot be overlooked when discussing possible title contenders.

Even with a winless record inside the Octagon, all it takes is one impressive victory for McCall to find himself right back in the hunt in a division that is still in its infancy.

While McCall is still searching for his first win in the UFC’s flyweight division, a former streaking bantamweight in Chris Cariaso recently made a successful debut at 125, and he looked to be an instant threat to the top fighters in the weight division.

Cariaso showed off one of the most complete performances in his career when he earned a decision win over Josh Ferguson at UFC on Fuel 4 in July, and a fight with another top contender in the division seems imminent.

A win there would thrust “Kamikaze” into the top five of the division, and well within reach of earning his first shot at a major championship.

There’s little doubt that Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson are the two biggest names currently in the UFC’s newest division, but with an influx of exciting new challengers waiting for their opportunity at the spotlight, there’s no doubt that flyweight is going to be one of the most electrifying divisions in the promotion for the next few years.

Photo: John Dodson (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Vince Carey
Staff Writer

Vince Carey has been writing about the sport of mixed martial arts since 2010. Although he is just 21 years old, the Omaha-based writer is looking to provide readers with interesting content on all things related to MMA.