Is The UFC Flyweight Division in Jeopardy This Weekend?

UFC Octagon

Getty General view of the UFC 238 Octagon at United Center on June 8, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.

Two men were scheduled to fight for the vacant UFC flyweight belt this weekend, but only one man successfully made the championship weight of 125 pounds. In the main event of February 29’s UFC Fight Night 169, Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo were matched up to fight for the title, but now only Benavidez can win it.

Benavidez successfully weighed-in at 124.5 pounds, but Figueiredo missed weight by 2.5-pounds, coming in at 127.5 pounds. As reported by ESPN’s Brett Okamato, the UFC is only allowing Benadivez to win the title if he wins, not Figueiredo.

Figueiredo will also forfeit 30 percent of his fight purse to Benavidez.

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What Will Happen if Figueiredo Defeats Benavidez at UFC Fight Night 169?

If Figueiredo leaves the Octagon on Saturday night with a victory over Benavidez, the UFC flyweight championship will presumably still remain vacant. Flyweight is known as one of the most shallow divisions in the UFC, and has historically done little business for the promotion, even though it’s been around since 2012.

The existence of the flyweight division was one of the main storylines going into UFC Fight Night 143’s title fight between then-champ Henry Cejudo and bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw in January 2019. There was a lot of speculation between analysts and fighters about the division possibly being dissolved if Cejudo lost the flyweight title to Dillashaw. The UFC has never confirmed the speculation, however.

During the UFC Fight Night 143 pre-fight press conference, MMA Junkie asked UFC president Dana White what would happen to the division if Dillashaw beat Cejudo. White answered, “I don’t know. We’ll see what happens on Saturday.”

Cejudo and Dillashaw both felt like the flyweight division was hanging in the balance, with Cejudo saying that he would resurrect the division, and Dillashaw saying he would “kill” the division. He also claimed that the UFC hired him to get rid of flyweight.

Cejudo ended up winning the fight, potentially saving the division.

But Cejudo’s vacated belt is now available for Benavidez to win. If Figueiredo wins, could the UFC flyweight division be axed? As mentioned, the UFC hasn’t discussed a plan to get rid of it, but if last year’s fight between Cejudo and Dillashaw was any indication, it could be on the table.

In the last year, the flyweight division has lost a number of fighters due to being cut, moving up to bantamweight or leaving via free agency. If the UFC is looking to remove the flyweight division, a Figueiredo win may be the catalyst.

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