MMA Ratings Podcast

July 20, 2020

UFC Fight Island: Deiveson Figueiredo Has Changed the Face of the UFC Flyweight Division

By Adam Martin

When former longtime UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson lost to Henry Cejudo at UFC 227 in August 2018 and the flyweight division got a new champion, we all thought it would be the jolt of energy the flyweight division needed. But not long after, Cejudo decided to move up to bantamweight and later vacate the flyweight title. For the last year, the division has essentially been without a champion. But not anymore, as Deivieson Figueiredo is the new UFC Flyweight Champion.

The 125-pound division has been on life support several times in the past, but it's been saved, first by Cejudo and now by Figueiredo. With a vicious first-round submission win over Joseph Benavidez in their main event matchup at this weekend's UFC Fight Island event, the flyweight division now has a legitimate champion to call its own. Figueiredo is a tremendous champ and can single-handedly put the flyweights back on the map, just like Cejudo did two years ago. Figueiredo winning the belt is just what the division needed.
One of the biggest complaints about flyweights from fans over the years has been the lack of finishes from fighters in the weight class. Historically, the flyweight division has had fewer knockouts and submissions than the UFC's other men's weight classes. And it didn't help that fans saw former champ Johnson as mostly a decision type of fighter. Cejudo won the belt, and fans finally got a flyweight champion who they thought would knock opponents out. But now they have Figueiredo, who is even more of a finisher than Cejudo.

At age 32, Figueiredo has a 19-1 record in MMA, including an 8-1 record in the UFC alone. The Brazilian has won 16 fights by stoppage, which is an absurd finish ratio for a flyweight fighter. In the UFC alone, where the opposition is the toughest, Figueiredo has finished six opponents, including Benavidez twice and former title challengers in Tim Elliott and John Moraga. Not only has Figueiredo been defeating his opponents, but for the most part, he has been smoking them.
The way Figueiredo defeated Benavidez in the pair's first fight was controversial due to an accidental headbutt and a weight miss, but he left no questions unanswered in the rematch. In arguably one of the most dominant rounds we've ever seen in flyweight history, Figueiredo knocked Benavidez down to the canvas three times with punches and had several near-submission attempts before finally choking Benavidez out cold with a rear-naked choke in one of the most brutal finishes of the year.

For Figueiredo, he now has the opportunity to put the 125-round weight class on his back. The fun thing is there are a number of fresh matchups for him going forward, including fights against Brandon Moreno, Alex Perez, Kai-Kara France, and Askar Askarov. Those fighters are not household names by any means, but at this point, Figueiredo is the draw of the division. People are going to want to tune into flyweight title fights in order to watch Figueiredo show his dominance.
It's nice to finally have the flyweight division represented by a champion again, and Deivieson Figueiredo is the perfect man for the job. He might be the most powerful puncher we've ever seen in UFC flyweight history and as we've seen he has a tremendous ground game as well. The UFC flyweight division has been on life support for quite some time now and Figueiredo is the right guy to save the division. The future of 125 pound is definitely in good hands going forward with Figueiredo at the helm.

UFC Fight Night
Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Joseph Benavidez 2 (UFC Flyweight Championship): Deiveson Figueiredo def. Joseph Benavidez via technical submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:48 of Round 1.

UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs. Benavidez 2 took place July 18, 2020 at Flash Forum in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Click HERE for more UFC Fight Night Post-Fight Analysis

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