Demetrious Johnson won his UFC Flyweight Championship with a split decision over Joseph Benavidez at UFC 152 a little less than one year ago, and it wasn’t notable because two talented fighters put on a hell of a show for their up-and-coming division, but because the crowd basically booed them the whole time. Such is the Sisyphisian boulder of the UFC’s little guys, as they try to succeed and build credibility in a sport that is followed by fans that generally love watching the bigger guys beat the crap out of each other.
Of course, fans of Johnson – and a really pissed off Dana White – will also point out that his last fight, a unanimous decision title defense over John Dodson at UFC on Fox 6 (above), was entertaining as hell and tomorrow night’s main event title match against John Moraga at UFC on Fox 8 at the Key Arena in Seattle won’t be anything different. And even if you’re still being stubborn about watching a 5-foot-3 champ in a main event, it’s a free fight, so what the hell are you complaining about?
I will admit that I’m most excited about the night’s other big match between Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger, as the young and exciting welterweights are two of my favorite guys in the business. And, as Ellenberger has pointed out, this is more than likely a fight to determine the next No. 1 contender in the quest to upset UFC Welterweight Champ Georges St-Pierre, who will next defend his title against the current No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks at UFC 167.
Of course, there are a few problems with Ellenberger’s assertion, with the first being that if GSP loses to Hendricks, he’ll automatically get a rematch (unless he retires, but let’s not get WAY too far ahead of ourselves here) and the other being that Hendricks would still warrant consideration. And if MacDonald wins tonight and Hendricks loses in November, we’ll also have to worry about the fact that MacDonald claims he won’t fight GSP for the title. Damn it, guys. There are no loyalties in mixed martial arts.
As for the rest of the card, I’m pretty stoked for the two women’s fights, as the growth of that division is essential to keeping it from dying off, and the fights we’ve seen since Ronda Rousey’s championship debut have mostly been impressive. As always, you can check out our own Lobster Mobster’s handy dandy primer right here.
Join us tomorrow night at 5 PM ET for three hours of preliminary fights on FX (or 4 PM ET for the Facebook fights if you’re frisky), followed by UFC on Fox 8 live on, well, Fox at 8 PM ET.