With a record number of shows planned for 2012 the UFC has decided to broaden their talent base by officially adding the flyweight division, a move that had been expected for some time but was not announced until the post-event press conference at UFC 140. The organization has also opted to kick things off with a bang by featuring four of the world’s top 125ers in a tournament to decide contendership for the first flyweight title in UFC history.
Participating in the festivities will be two longtime bantamweight staples, Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez, as well as two newcomers who both possess championship credentials in the form of Ian McCall and Yasuhiro Urushitani. The foursome will face off on March 3 at UFC on FX card scheduled to take place in Australia.
Johnson, who most recently went five rounds against 135-pound champion Dominick Cruz, will mix it up with McCall who is viewed in certain circles as the top flyweight in MMA based on his success under the Tachi Palace Fights banner. “Uncle Creepy” holds an overall record of 11-2, while Johnson has the slightly better mark at 14-2 including wins in the UFC against Norifumi Yamamoto and Miguel Torres.
In the other pairing, Team Alpha Male stand-out Benavidez will battle Shooto title-holder Urushitani who has found success his last five fights. The 27-year old Benavidez is also in the midst of a winning streak, having had his hand raised in three straight with victories over Wagnney Fabiano, Ian Loveland, and Eddie Wineland.
Though no other UFC fighters were named as entering the flyweight division it’s likely a number of bantamweights will consider the drop over the next few months including recent TUF 14 winner John Dodson who has already expressed interest in competing at the weight.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC