It seems that the UFC trading Demetrious Johnson for Ben Askren could have been seen as foreshadowing.
Rumors started surfacing today that flyweight division is to be completely gone by the end of the year. FloCombat was the first to break the news and they were right. It makes sense that the UFC traded Johnson, easily their most valuable asset in the division rather than potentially let him go for nothing if he wasn’t willing to fight at a higher weight.
UFC president has never been a fan of Ben Askren but it seems that he rather take Askren than let Johnson go for nothing. With that said many fighters futures are still up in the air.
It is not known yet what will be the last fight for the flyweight division and when. A majority of the fighters in the flyweight division are on standby to find out what their future with the promotion holds. UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo will likely end up moving up to bantamweight permanently.
He is already scheduled to fight bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, which makes sense if the division is going to be dissolved that he move up without having at least one title defense.
MMA journalist Ariel Helwani tweeted that flyweights will be kept on depending on their performance. IF your last fight was a loss then you will likely be released, but if you are coming off a win the UFC can’t legally release you and those fighters will be given the opportunity to move up to bantamweight.
Will Dana White react to Helwani’s post?
The flyweight purge has already started as two fighters have already been let go by the promotion. Jose Torres and Jarred Brooks have confirmed being released by the UFC.
Torres, a former Titan FC champion entered the UFC winning his first fight against Brooks via KO but lost his second fight in the promotion by KO. He confirmed his release with a video on Twitter.
Despite the bad news, he was somewhat optimistic about his future. He did state that speaking publicly about the division being gone eventually probably led to being one of the first cut.
As you can see in the video below, Torres keeps a pretty positive attitude about the entire situation.
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Thank you @flocombat for making it public. I’m the first to be released. I didn’t get to finish my UFC contract with 2 more fights being left on it because they are cutting most of my division and not giving some of us a chance to bump up and prove ourselves like myself. So now it’s time to move on to bigger and better things. Good luck small guys! #WeCan #WeWill #Together #WeAre #TeamShorty
Torres was somewhat positive in his video to fans.
As for Brooks, well he wasn’t as positive about his release from the UFC. He might have more of a reason to be angry, however, because unlike Torres he was coming off a win. Which mean Helwani, might not be 100% correct about how the UFC is deciding who stays and goes. If he is right about the legality of the UFC being able to release a fighter coming off a win then Brooks might have a case against the promotion.
Brooks criticizes media outlets like ESPN in his video post about his release. He talks about how it is size discrimination that they don’t have small fighter son their broadcasts even in Boxing. It is very clear that he is not happy, and with good reason.
Brooks clearly did not like how the division was treated and it is very clear in the video. You can see Brooks video here:
— Jarred Brooks (@The_monkeygod) November 7, 2018
Could Cejudo have fought for the flyweight division?
Brooks goes on to state that UFC will regret the decision and that they will probably end up bringing it back. He also states that this is a “tough pill to swallow”.
It is definitely worth watching because he really lays into the UFC about not caring about martial arts and talks about ONE Championship being a place for real martial artist. He also brings up Henry Cejudo and it seems that he throws some blame at him since he is moving up to fight TJ Dillashaw at Bantamweight rather than defending his flyweight title.
Clearly, there will be a lot of unhappy fighters, but it seems ONE Championship might be the perfect place for the flyweights. They seem to be gearing up to give them a platform to showcase their skills.