Gabe Killian’s Thoughts on the Current UFC Flyweight Title Picture

ufc-on-fox-6When John Lineker weighed in four pounds overweight for his UFC 183 bout against Ian McCall, he gave up the right to compete for the UFC Flyweight title, should he defeat his opponent. After losing a one-sided first round, the Brazilian hurt “Uncle Creepy” in the second, and while he didn’t score the knockout finish, he did manage to outwork him. Even though he was more tired than McCall, Lineker managed to outstrike him in round three to pick up a 29-28 unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. McCall badly wanted a third fight with Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, and the UFC really needed him to win, too. With John Dodson still being out of action due to injury, Lineker missing weight and McCall losing, the promotion is left without a number-one contender for their 125-pound champion. The UFC’s next move for Johnson appears to be a very big question mark at this point. If you ask me, which I’m going to go ahead and assume you are, I’d tell you that I think they have three moves to make. First, they could continue to keep the champ on the shelf and unhappy until Dodson is 100% ready to return. I think that would be a terrible move to make and don’t believe that’s how this situation will be handled. Furthermore, I think Dodson should fight someone else before he takes on Johnson in a rematch, because that will benefit him more than taking him on right after his extended layoff due to injury. The second move would be a trilogy bout against Joseph Benavidez, who is on an impressive two-fight winning streak since suffering a first round knockout at the hands of the champ in their rematch. The Team Alpha Male product is currently not booked for a fight and should be ready to go. The third option would be to bring in and promote a flyweight champion from another promotion, and I think the best choice for that would be RFA’s 125-pound champion Alexandre Pantoja. Riding an eight-fight winning streak that includes six finishes, I think the Brazilian will have a better chance at defeating Johnson than many of the flyweights in the UFC’s top 15. No other match-up against anyone on the UFC’s flyweight roster makes sense to me, so I believe these are the only three possible options. This may not be a popular statement, but while I may not be crazy about the idea, I would like to see a trilogy bout between “Mighty Mouse” and Benavidez. More so, I would welcome a bout against Pantoja, as I think they would be able to successfully build up and promote that bout more. Also, out of the two, it is the fight I would personally be more interested in seeing. I think Benavidez stands a better chance at defeating Johnson, but nonetheless this is a fight I would prefer more. Regardless of what the UFC decides, they need to make a decision soon. Johnson does not like waiting on the sidelines, as he is a Cerrone-esque fighter who takes pleasure in competing as much as possible. In the future, I think the UFC should have a season of The Ultimate Fighter where some of the best 125-pound fighters from around the globe get the opportunity to not only compete for a UFC contract, but also for a shot at the flyweight gold. As a fan, that is what I would truly love to see.

Written by Gabe Killian

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