The man they call Mighty Mouse, Demetrious Johnson, proved that his flyweight title reign is no mistake when he defended it Saturday night on FOX. The speedy and powerful John Dodson couldn't take the title from him, and now the champion is left with a muddled collection of potential contenders in the 125-pound class.
Some of the guys who could differentiate themselves from the pack include:
In a pretty thin division, it doesn't take a lot to get a title shot. Moraga is 2-0 in the UFC and has won fights via finish, meaning he has as much of a right to claim a shot at Johnson as anyone else.
He's 13-1 overall, and his only loss to this point in his career came at the hands of recent challenger Dodson over two years ago. A seven-fight win streak and a stellar UFC run likely makes Moraga the next challenger.
In a fashion similar to Moraga, Uyenoyama is 2-0 in the UFC and recently won his flyweight debut over Phil Harris. He's a veteran of the MMA circuit, with wins in Strikeforce, DREAM, and Shooto, and has competed everywhere south of 155lbs. that he could get a fight.
The only thing stopping him from laying claim to a shot at gold is his short run at 125. The UFC may request that he takes another fight or two there before putting him in with the best in the world.
Going outside the box a little bit, consider the possibility of Bowles dropping down for a chance at the flyweight title. He's never been a hulking bantamweight, and with the right encouragement he may be coerced into making the cut and dropping a class for a shot at Mighty Mouse.
Bowles has serious power, and if he could carry it with him to 125 lbs., he'd be in pretty rare air. It's no secret that flyweights are largely a fast and technical collection, not so much a bullish and powerful one.
Strikes against him are a loss in his last fight (less a strike than ever before) and a period of inactivity dating back to 2011. Still, he could be an interesting choice.
Tim Elliott beat John Dodson. The judges didn't think so, but that's not really an indicator of anything, truthfully. Back at UFC on FOX 3, Elliott should have had his hand raised.
He didn't, but if the UFC wanted to go look at the tape and then tack on the fact that he since put a serious beating on Jared Papazian, there's probably enough there to justify a title shot.
The veteran of Tachi Palace Fights has been in there with the top flyweights in the world for a long time now, and only two men have bested him, with Ian McCall the only one to do so since early 2009.
It's no secret that Montague is a prospect the UFC needs to get under contract in 2013, and if they do it sooner rather than later, the streaking Californian makes more sense than anyone out there for a chance at Mighty Mouse.