It really is funny to see how one fight can change the public’s perception. That exact thing happened last night when Demetrious Johnson brutally knocked out Joseph Benavidez. I cannot stress the word “brutally” enough. No joke — when the shot landed, I was pretty sure that Benavidez was going to have a seizure afterwards. It was that bad.
As unfortunate as it sounds, that is exactly what the division needed. When the UFC announced that they were creating a flyweight class, the fans were excited, but I would not say they were enamored with the idea.
During the first UFC flyweight fight, Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg were practically begging the audience to see the talent that was in front of them. The first title fight for the division was booed for three rounds! People like to see fights finish, and the perception was the smaller guys were going to have a problem doing that. All of that changed last night, and that was nothing but good news for every fighter in that division.
What Johnson was able to prove was that the little guys can be exciting. The little guys can finish fights, and they can do it quickly. The other big part of this fight was that it was on FOX, which is available to millions of people around the world, instead of limiting the fights to a pay-per-view audience. Dana White is giving the flyweights as much promotion as possible because he knows that there is going to be some serious talent in the division in a couple of years.
Last night, Johnson proved that the division is capable of putting on exciting fights; he also showed that the division has a future and in a couple of years, it could be one of the most exciting divisions in the UFC.