One of the driving forces behind the UFC’s decision to add a flyweight division had to do with the success of undersized bantamweights Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson. Despite their diminutive dimensions, the pint-sized pugilists overcame the odds in beating a number of larger peers including the likes of Rani Yahya, Eddie Wineland, Miguel Torres, and Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto.
Now that Benavidez and Johnson will have an opportunity to compete at their natural weight (125 pounds) it’s likely the two will finally meet in the cage at some point in the future. However, if Johnson has his way their pairing will come sooner than later.
Both men are set to take to the Octagon this Friday night at UFC on FX 2 where they’ll compete in the semifinal round of the UFC’s title-crowning tournament. Though each faces an apt adversary, “Mighty Mouse” is keeping his fingers crossed that they’ll both come out victorious, setting up a showdown in 2012 for the organization’s inaugural flyweight championship.
“They’re both great fighters, they’re both champions in their own organizations, and we got two tough guys in front of us,” said Johnson on MMAWeekly Radio while discussing respective opponents Yasuhiro Urushitani and Ian McCall. “Hopefully me and Joseph get past these two and we’re able to give the fans what they want to see, which is me and Joseph for the flyweight title.”
Benavidez faces Urushitani, a Shooto title-holder on a five-fight winning streak, while Johnson will mix it up with McCall whose last loss came to Dominick Cruz more than two years ago. Still, as seasoned as both may be, Johnson believes he and Benavidez possess a level of experience neither has achieved yet based on having already dealt with the pressure of competing inside the infamous eight-sided cage.
“Absolutely, it’s an advantage that I guess you can look at it and say that these two guys haven’t fought in the UFC and these two guys are coming from organizations that are not up to the par with the UFC. This isn’t my first rodeo, and this won’t be a walk in the park, but the jitters won’t be on my side,” explained Johnson.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC