UFC Flyweights: Joseph Benavidez and the Top 5 Fighters Who Could Make the Cut
Recently, UFC President Dana White announced plans for adding MMA's lightest weight class, the 125 lb. flyweight division.
News of this plan has sparked the interests of flyweights outside the organization, but it has also put the idea of dropping a class in the minds of many of the UFC's smaller fighters.
Changing divisions has helped many warriors find success inside the Octagon, reinvigorating the careers of former champions and contenders alike.
Here are the top five fighters currently in the UFC that would find a wealth of success dropping to 125.
5. Takeya Mizugaki
After coming to the United States, this highly touted Japanese bantamweight has alternated between wins and losses since joining the Zuffa family.
Putting on a great showing in his title shot against Miguel Torres, Takeya Mizugaki edged out Jeff Curran for his first win outside Japan.
However, he has gone 2-2 since the win, losing to both Scott Jorgensen and Urijah Faber in pretty bad fashion.
Although victorious in his UFC debut, Mizugaki will have to stay consistent if he wants to remain viable at 135. Set to Brian Bowles at UFC 132, a loss will only further set back this former top contender.
A move to 125 may be a godsend for Mizugaki. Coming up short against the top 135ers, a drop to flyweight might be the career change he needs in order to make himself into a legitimate contender.
4. Scott Jorgensen
Scott Jorgensen is a long time veteran and former top contender who would be a great candidate for moving to flyweight.
Knocking and choking people out en route to a title shot against Dominick Cruz at the last WEC event, Jorgesen looked a bit undersized in that fight, unable to cope with Cruz's fast hands and solid takedown defense.
Jorgensen rebounded in an emphatic fashion, knocking out Ken Stone in his UFC debut in June.
Although certainly not over-matched by most fighters, Jorgensen may have trouble with the stronger and faster contenders in the upper echelon of the division.
A drop to 125 would make Jorgensen an instant contender due to his great wrestling and powerful hands.
3. Demetrious Johnson
With all the success Demetrious Johnson has had in the bantamweight division, a cut in weight may be unnecessary.
Currently on a four fight win streak, "Mighty Mouse" is 10-1 overall and 4-1 under the Zuffa banner.
Johnson's lightning quick hands and takedowns have baffled the likes of "Kid" Yamamoto and Miguel Torres, putting him in prime position to take over the division.
But at only 5'3", Johnson is quite small compared to the other 135ers.
If Johnson hits a snag, which I don't think will happen anytime soon, a cut to 125 would make him one of the most dangerous flyweights in the world.
2. Miguel Torres
For former WEC Bantamweight champion Miguel Torres, the road to the UFC has been a roller coaster ride since losing the title in 2009.
Finished back-to-back by Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez, Torres rebounded from his title loss with a submission win at WEC 51 and a decision victory in his UFC debut back in February.
However, his most recent bout against Demetrious Johnson was a tough loss and a huge setback for the now 39-4 veteran.
Dropping to flyweight might be a great choice for Torres, who needs to find more consistent success inside the Octagon.
With a whole crop of talent taking over at 135, it will be hard for Torres to regain title contention.
Torres may need to take a page out of Kenny Florian's book, losing the extra pounds so he can make another run at UFC gold.
1. Joseph Benavidez
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There is no doubt in my mind that if given the chance, Joseph Benavidez would become the UFC Flyweight champion.
One of the smaller fighters in the bantamweight division, Benavidez is a scrappy fighter and superb wrestler who has found a lot of success at 135.
However, when given the shot at the title, the speed and strength of Dominick Cruz was too much, with Cruz victorious in both of their matches. The size advantage could not be overcome, a factor that a smaller fighter can't control.
Benavidez, who has expressed interest in dropping to 125, would be perfectly suited for the division. Although only 5'4'', he would have an advantage over other fighters in speed and skill if prompted to cut weight.
Out of all the fighters looking to fight at 125, Benavidez will most certainly be the first to change divisions as well as finding success at flyweight.