Opinion: The Future of the Flyweights

(Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The UFC’s Flyweight division has been active for almost a decade at this point, with former champions such as Demetrious Johnson and Henry Cejudo breaking out to stardom since winning the belt for the division. Even though Johnson himself is arguably considered one of the greatest of all time and Cejudo is currently thriving off of recent success, some say the Flyweight division is on its last legs.

The Flyweight division has given UFC fans stellar fights over the years. However, regarding business, the Flyweights, in general, seem to be disinterested from a vast number of fans. It’s worth noting despite Johnson’s talent, he was never considered a major PPV draw. The buy rates for UFC PPV events where Johnson would headline the card was considered low by the company’s standard, which speaks a lot for the division as a whole.

As the UFC later traded him to ONE Championship for Ben Askren, the Flyweights became more in limbo regarding a potential demise. Even though Cejudo held the Flyweight belt at the same time as he held the bantamweight championship, there was only little buzz that the Flyweight division generated. To which it wasn’t too long after he won the belt that he’d be stripped.

Currently, the Flyweight division is left without a champion who the UFC can rely on to sell tickets. One could argue that no fighter in that division can self-promote themselves as a Flyweight. It does speak a lot of words that the latest Flyweight championship was defended at a Fight Night event. Even if there are flyweight fighters that could potentially become PPV draws, the UFC may not capitalize on that very opportunity.

It seems due to the latest Flyweight championship bout between Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo, the division itself could become more of an exclusive-feature to UFCs Fight Night events. Specifically, if the UFC decides to continue the Flyweight division for the seeable future, then it seems likely they won’t be main-eventing monthly PPVs.

Not to say that the Flyweights can’t be an integral asset to the UFC promotion, but as now, their place with the company seems settled in as a non-major attraction. With that said, it’s interesting to see if the Flyweight division one day can become prominent to the UFC or if they’ll stay as an attraction for ESPN Plus.

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