For years any fighter who was too small for the welterweight division did not have a place in the UFC. Recently, the UFC reinstated the 155 lbs division and now some of the promotion’s biggest stars are lightweights.
Zuffa, as a whole, has not stopped there. With the purchase of the WEC, bantamweights and featherweights now have a flagship North American promotion that allows them to ply their trade. Thanks to the WEC, names like Urijah Faber or Miguel Torres are well known in MMA circles.
MMA Weekly is reporting that in 2009 the WEC is planning to promote a flyweight 125 lbs division. It seems only fair, since contrary to this report that alleges the WEC will “be hard pressed to find adult male humans who weigh 125lbs” and could only find “horse jockeys” that size, there are many talented smaller fighters out there.
In reality, there are a great deal of athletes that compete at that size. All levels of collegiate wrestling have a 125 lbs weight class and both, Greco-Roman and Freestlye Olympic wrestling have a 121 lbs class. In fact, if American gold medalist Henry Cejudo were to transition to MMA, flyweight would be his natural weight class.
While there are many flyweight size wrestlers that could transition into MMA, there are also many quality fighters out there who already compete in the division. The Japanese promotion, Shooto has long been the torch bearer of the division, but recently the Palace Fighting Championship has taken a big step forward in promoting the division.
On the last PFC card, the bout between Ulysses Gomez and Rambaa Somdet easily stole the show. In the end, Somdet, the traditional Thai boxer, was able to do enough damage on the feet to take the fight. The fight was extremely high paced and at times exceedingly technical.
The flyweight division may not be the deepest division, but these fighters need an outlet to showcase their skills. It is sad that fighters like Team Jackson’s Johny Dodson have been forced to compete out of their weight class for most of their careers. Following his loss to Mike Easton (contested at a catch weight of 132 pounds) on the October UWC card, Dodson said, “I’m always going to be the smaller fighter – look at me, I’m a midget.” Perhaps if there was a flyweight division, he would find himself in a fair fight.
There is currently no word on who the WEC plans to sign at flyweight, or when they are going to begin promting the division.
Some Top Flyweight Fighters in Action: