There are plenty of UFC fights I'm looking forward to for the remainder of 2012.
Next Saturday's bout between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen is probably the most anticipated. There's also Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson, Georges St-Pierre vs. Carlos Condit, Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez 2 and Rory MacDonald vs. B.J. Penn. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
But there may be no fight I'm looking forward to more than Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson.
I know it doesn't have the big-name appeal of the previous bouts I listed. But this battle to crown the UFC's first flyweight champion should be an absolute technical beauty. Oh, and it'll be pretty fast-paced, as well.
Ian McCall knows a little something about Johnson. After all, he did face the guy twice. And McCall, one of the world's premiere flyweights, says that he doesn't see his two-time opponent standing much of a chance against Benavidez:
Ian McCall: I don't even know if DJ can get past Joseph Benavidez, to be honest. Nothing against Joe, I like Joe more than I like Demetrious, but I would like Demetrious to beat Joe, because it would make me look better and give me a little more satisfaction in life [laughs], but I don't know if I really see that happening.
Interviewer: Why is it that you feel DJ won't win? Can you give specific reasons, or point out where you think Benavidez will be stronger?
Ian McCall: I just don't see him beating Joe. It could happen. He beat me, and I never thought that would happen. I see Joe coming in more prepared than I was. Demetrious will just do what he did to me. Sneak in, potshot, and back out. He runs, but not in a bad way. He runs because it's what he's good at. He still engages and stuff. We'll see how it goes. I'm definitely interested in watching their fight.
McCall speaks the truth. I'm not saying that Johnson can't win the fight. What I'm saying, right here and now, is that Johnson has an incredibly difficult path to victory.
Who becomes the first UFC flyweight champ?
His speed and wrestling are his biggest strengths. Benavidez has much better wrestling and has the takedown defense to stay off his back. Plus, he'll have a significant size advantage while also remaining nearly as quick as "Mighty Mouse."
The odds are great that Benavidez will walk out as the first UFC flyweight champ. And you know what? I'm hoping we get to see "Joe-Jitsu" defend his title against McCall at some point in the future, because that, too, would be an incredible fight.