As the only flyweight champion in UFC history until just a few months ago, Demetrious Johnson was the face of the division and arguably one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
Now it appears Johnson’s days in the UFC are numbered as a historic ‘trade’ deal is in the works that would send him to ONE Championship in exchange for former welterweight champion and Olympic wrestler Ben Askren.
While Johnson did suffer his first loss at 125 pounds back in August when he fell in a razor close decision with Henry Cejudo, there was little doubt that he deserved an immediate rematch while already holding a knockout win over him from their first meeting.
Instead of a third fight against Cejudo in the future, it looks like Johnson is about to change his surroundings by joining the Asia based promotion where his head coach Matt Hume also serves as an executive.
“First off all, it’s sad to see Demetrious Johnson go,” former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping said when speaking on ‘UFC Tonight’. “This guy trailblazed the flyweight division. He was the guy. He was the face of it.
“Of course, he lost to Henry Cejudo recently but I still believe he’s one of, if not the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. So it’s sad to see him go.”
If Johnson does end up exiting the UFC with rumors swirling that current flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is nearing a deal to move up to 135 pounds to take on bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw in early 2019, that leaves a lot of questions about the future of the 125-pound division.
There were indications nearly two years ago that the UFC was considering dissolving the flyweight division, although it never actually happened.
Now with Johnson likely leaving the UFC to join ONE Championship and Cejudo possibly moving up to fight for the bantamweight title, it doesn’t seem to bode well for the future of the flyweights inside the Octagon.
“Sad to see [Demetrious Johnson leave] from a personal perspective but does this mean the end of the flyweight division?” Bisping lamented. “I mean if the UFC are willing to let Demetrious Johnson go — as I say the face of that division — does that mean they’re going to cancel the 125 division?
“Force them to go fight at 135 or force them to go fight for ONE FC out in Asia. Who knows? A lot of questions.”
As of now, the UFC hasn’t even publicly acknowledged the potential trade that would send Johnson to ONE Championship but if that goes through, the future of the flyweight division certainly seems in question.
If Demetrious Johnson leaves the UFC, should the flyweight division get dissolved? Sound off in the comments section and let us know!