Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Post Cringe King Era: Flyweight Division Landscape

If the King of Cringe stays retired, it's safe to say it'll be worse than when GSP won the Middleweight belt and retired again (that left us watching 2 guys coming off of a loss fighting for a title: Romero vs Whitaker and Romero failed to make weight meaning Whitaker was the only one who could even "win" the belt....what a trainwreck that was. Romero would then miss weight again and lose to Whitaker again with a second title shot). With no clear title holder casual fans recognize but a bunch of guys most fans vaguely recall seeing fight on various prelims over the years it's a hard sell to think it will move beyond that slot in the matchmaking and preference with fans. At least when Cejudo was flyweight champ it was someone that as cringe as he was, folks recognized and had a marketing leg up over Mighty Mouse who never seemed to do more than film Countdown specials of him playing games online and waltzing over out classed opponents. Mighty Mouse despite his precision and acumen for fighting never took hold in the public viewership.

The flyweight division was dogged by rumors of being folded until Cejudo beat Mighty Mouse, so, bear with me as I'm less than hopeful for some mighty resurgence.

Figueiredo - 7-1 in the UFC, but also missed weight in his last win over Benavidez and they were slated to run it back. He could have won the belt as it was vacated at that point but missed weight and now Benavidez gets yet another title shot (think Urijah Faber). He's got wins over Moraga, Pantoja, and Elliott amongst others.

Formiga - he's got 15 fights in the UFC, which is wild. He dropped his last two fights to Benavidez and Moreno. He's got wins over Sasaki, Nguyen, Pettis, and is the guy who's got a win over Figueiredo. He's a tough sell coming off of two losses but much like LHW, it feels like guys can have a win or 2 then end up fighting for the belt as most of the guys have a loss in their last 2-3 fights.

Benavidez -  the dude's got 19 UFC fights on this record. He's got wins over everyone from Formiga and Cejudo to Bagauunitov, Mighty Mouse, Moraga, and Elliott but has dropped fights to Figueiredo and Sergio Pettis, Mighty Mouse, and even Dominic Cruz (up a weight class). He'll be running it back with Figueiredo for the vacant title at some point, but I didn't see anything in that first round or two that suggests it will go differently the second time around. The long career and accumulation of damage I think means that this is Benavidez actual last title shot.

Pantoja Moreno- 6-2 in the UFC with losses to Figueiredo and Ortiz but wins over: Schnell, Reis, Sasaki, Moreno, and & Seery. Figueiredo is the common thread for handing a bunch of these flyweights a loss in the UFC.

Askarov - it says a lot that a guy who's 1-0-1 in the UFC if ranked 6th in this division. He stopped Tim Elliott and had a split draw with Moreno in his UFC debut but it's a hard sell to put him in a title fight with 2 UFC fights under his belt.

Tim Elliott - currently ranked 11th, I've included him because he had one of the better showings against Demtrious Johnson after winning a title shot by winning the TUF flyweight season. He's 2-3 since losing that title shot to Mighty Mouse. He's won against Louis Smolka and Mark De La Rose but lost to Askarov, Figueiredo, and Nguyen. 

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