UFC on Fox 9: What We Learned from Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez

Jeremy BotterMMA Senior WriterDecember 14, 2013

December 13, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; UFC flyweight championship fighters Demetrious Johnson (left) and Joseph Benavidez (right) face-off in front of UFC president Dana White (center) in the official weigh-in for UFC on FOX 9 at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has found a home for the flyweight championship on Fox network television. They won't call it the flyweight championship, of course, because there exists some sort of existential hang-up with red-blooded American men viewing guys who are generally smaller than them as inferior.

This is not actually the case 99.99 percent of the time, of course, as the next time a meathead mixed martial arts fan sporting an Affliction shirt actually has the bravery to challenge a 125-pound fighter to a contest of wills will be the first time.

But the Internet makes everyone brave, and perhaps Fox was scared that the football-watching, Bud Light-swigging public wouldn't dare tune in to see excellent fighters simply because they were smaller. I'll never understand it, but I don't have to.

Regardless, the unbelievers among you should be happy with the main event performance from Demetrious Johnson, who turned back Joseph Benavidez with a brutal first-round knockout (followed by at least five or six unneeded punches). It was pure violence, even if it came in a pint-sized XBox One package.

With the loss from Benavidez, I'm left with but one question to ponder: Who is left for Johnson?

As far as I can see, no real contenders remain for the flyweight champion. Benavidez was the last contender—the man whom many once assumed would ascend to the throne when the UFC instituted the new division over a year ago.

Johnson has already vanquished Benavidez twice, John Dodson and John Moraga. The only remaining contenders are Ian McCall and Jussier Formiga. McCall has already lost to Johnson, and Formiga is coming off a loss. 

My guess? Former Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky, despite having just one fight in the UFC (a win over Scott Jorgensen), will fight for the title next.

But if we're being honest with each other—and I hope that we are—I don't see anyone left in the division right now who can beat Johnson. He is the best flyweight in the world, and unless a fighter moves down from 135 and instantly makes an impact at 125 pounds, he will remain the best for the foreseeable future.