UFC Flyweight Division: Why Have There Not Been Many Signings?

Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2012

Sep 22, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; UFC fighter Demetrious Johnson (leftt) fights against fighter Joseph Benavidez in the flyweight championship bout at UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC flyweight division has been around for almost a year now, and to date, there are only 15 men in the division.

Take time for that to sink in. 

There are 15 fighters in a division that the UFC is trying to build. That means only seven fights can be made at a time, which is hurting the exposure of the division.

Now, I get that the flyweight championship is headlining a Fox card, which is big-time exposure. However, it feels like the flyweights are taking a backseat position now that Ronda Rousey has been announced as a UFC signee. 

I understand that women's MMA is important and should be developed under a close eye. Rousey is a draw. However, the flyweights can be a draw as well if given the publicity and time to grow.

The flyweights usually put on the best fights of the night. Their cardio, quickness and tenacity often warm the crowd up to the rest of the night's fights.

Of the flyweights on the roster, seven of them are bantamweights that dropped to 125 pounds. They have previous experience in the UFC 135-pound division.

Those seven men are champion Demetrious Johnson, former contender Joseph Benavidez, top contender John Dodson, Chris Cariaso, Darren Uyenoyama, Louis Gaudinot and Jared Papazian. Of that, I believe Papazian is on his way out because he is 0-3 in the company, which would leave just 14 flyweights on the roster.

It's great to home-grow your talent, but there are great flyweights outside of the company. Just to name a few, guys on my radar are Darrell Montague, Josh Sampo, Sean Santella and Giovanni da Silva Santos, Jr. 

Those four guys alone could really add some competition to the division. But for some reason, the UFC is not attempting to sign up further talent.

It seems almost futile for the UFC to have nearly 70 lightweights under contract, as well as over 60 welterweights on the roster, and leave the flyweight division shallow and near barren.

If the UFC is willing to gamble on a bunch of prospects that have a slight chance at even being mid-card mainstays, why not start to gamble on guys that have the chance to be top flyweights for years to come?

Also consider the fact that The Ultimate Fighter continues to hold lightweight, welterweight and middleweight seasons of the show, despite the fact that they are the most talented divisions. Meanwhile, the lighter and heaviest weight classes have the least amount of fighters.

Before I end my inquiry, I will leave you with this: With the minimal amount of flyweight bouts that have been put on in the UFC, there have been three Fight of the Night awards and one Knockout of the Night award. Add that to the other flyweight bouts that could and should have won awards, and it's obvious that the division needs immediate attention.