UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson and top contender John Dodson will make promotional history on Saturday night in Chicago at UFC on FOX 6 when the two tussle in the inaugural defense of the division’s belt, not to mention the fight marking the first time network TV sees a flyweight bout. It seems as though the stars have aligned for the organization, as they couldn’t ask for two better fighters to be in the cage for such an occasion, and the fans inside the United Center in Downtown Chicago will no doubt be treated to top notch title fight.
Here are five defining moments that brought our main event combatants to the Octagon on Saturday night…
Johnson Wins Unanimous Decision Over Miguel Torres
The UFC didn’t always have a flyweight division, and that left guys like Johnson and Dodson fighting at bantamweight. That said, Johnson wasn’t supposed to win this fight against Torres. Torres was a bantamweight who went unbeaten in 30 straight fights, and although Johnson wasn’t the one to derail the run, he opened a lot of eyes when he got his hand raised with a unanimous decision. To be fair, many scorecards had Torres winning the fight, but Johnson put together a tough win over the toughest guy he had fought to date.
John Dodson Wins The Ultimate Fighter 14
You don’t get to come into the UFC and tell the UFC the way you want things. Meaning, Dodson wouldn’t normally get a UFC contract and then tell the promotion that he will be fighting at another weight class. That is unless that competitor in question won his contract on TUF. It only took Dodson two minutes to dispatch T.J. Dillashaw with strikes, but the win enabled him to set his own table, and his own path in the UFC.
Demetrious Johnson’s Rematch with Ian McCall
Many analysts, including this one who was at both fights, thought Johnson won the first the fight despite it being scored a Draw. The commission made a mistake that night, and the a provision for a sudden victory round never came into play. This threw a wrench in the flyweight tournament, but before long fans in Florida were treated to the rematch. This was important because the world saw Johnson learn from his previous performance against McCall. His improved knowledge was evident when he came out and ran the table on McCall, cementing his status as a serious threat for the flyweight gold.
John Dodson vs. Jussier Formiga
Dodson and Formiga were two of the top flyweights from outside of the tournament that determined the champion. While Dodson entered the division after his TUF win, the fight marked Formiga’s Octagon debut even though he was still regarded as one of the best 125ers in the world. If Dodson wanted to stay in the division he would need a win, and boy did he get it. Late in the second round Dodson not only overwhelmed and flattened Formiga with strikes, but he became the first person to ever to put him away. With the victory, Dodson put the fight world on notice that that some flyweights can in fact finish fights.
Johnson Beats Joseph Benavidez for Inaugural Flyweight Title
This fight set the table for this Saturday’s FOX card and was the first time the flyweight strap made an appearance in the Octagon. Johnson’s showing was a masterful performance, as he executed a near-perfect gameplan. Benavidez made a fight of it, but as the tilt went into later rounds it became clear who the first flyweight champion would be. The fight was scored a Split Decision, but most cards had Johnson winning 3-2. The way Johnson used his strikes to set up his takedowns, and vice-versa, was just enough to keep Benavidez guessing through the most of the later rounds.