Love them or hate them, you can't deny the quality of the action provided by the fights in the lighter weight classes. A look at MMA's archives will show a number of fights in the featherweight, bantamweight and flyweight divisions that all did their part in highlighting exactly how they hold their own with those of the more established divisions.
Remember how long it took before fans accepted the lightweight division? And remember that they faced similar questions to those encountered by the lighter weight classes? Now, lightweight stands as one of the most talent-rich divisions in the sport, let alone the UFC, and the talent in that one division always produces a number of fights that stand on paper as Fight of the Night candidates for almost every fight card that occurs.
Featherweights, bantamweights and flyweights can produce thrillers of the same cloth, and with time, flyweights for sure will get the recognition that they deserve. However, despite the lack of depth in the division in all three divisions, fans of the sport will do themselves a great justice by embracing these lighter weight classes for more than just the "remember when lightweights first got on?" argument.
Let the reality sink in about these three divisions if any doubt still exists, especially since many will eventually come to about this matter. Despite the fluctuation of poundage that separates the divisions from each other, the action quality holds the same high level at heavyweight as it holds in the other divisions.
The primary five divisions all needed to establish longevity before fans caught on to what most fight fans already knew, which is that great fights always happen regardless of the weight. Fans catch on to this after witnessing a fight or two in a division, thus causing them to pay attention to the divisions more prominently than they may have done in a previous point in time.
Obviously, it may not help fans to get behind the division if the fights consistently get booked on Fuel TV, FX or okay pay-per-view cards, but considering that a number of cable subscribers enjoy FX on a daily basis, one can make the statement that those subscribers definitely have the necessary means to get themselves interested.
Also, the UFC will aim to garner further interest in their lightest division when flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson makes the first defense of his title against John Dodson at UFC on Fox 6 in Chicago, while Jose Aldo looks to keep a grip on his featherweight title at UFC 156 against Frankie Edgar. The quality of both fights promise exciting firefights and memorable finishes, but will fans embrace these fights before or after they transpire?
They absolutely know how to draw in the casual viewer while changing the mind of the skeptical hardcore fan, so few will find a reason to believe that they cannot embrace these fights.
However, until fans begin to recognize the reasons for why they should embrace these fights, the divisions will take longer to earn their long-overdue respect than they did to make it into the sport's premier league.
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