Just under two years ago, the flyweight division was on the verge of being completely scrapped by the UFC as TJ Dillashaw dropped down in weight to challenge Henry Cejudo at 125lbs.
If Dillashaw won, it was expected that the UFC would liquidate the division and force Dillashaw back to 135lbs. As it happened, Cejudo destroyed him and ended up claiming his 135lbs title just a few months later.
The flyweight title got vacated and the UFC opted to keep the division alive and put together a title fight between Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez. When Figueiredo missed weight for the first time in his career, it meant he couldn’t win the title on the night.
That didn’t stop him from knocking Benavidez unconscious in the second round after an accidental clash of heads opened up a big cut on the veterans head. Due to not being able to win the title, the UFC immediately made a rematch for the title again in July.
Then came Fight Island, where Figueiredo made sure everyone knew it wasn’t a fluke the first time around. ‘Deus de Gerra’ destroyed Benavidez with a violent knockdown before sinking in a deep rear naked choke that put him to sleep.
Thus began the reign of Deiveson Figueiredo as the king of the flyweights.
He was due to make his first defence of the title at UFC 255 against former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt, who was going to step down and look to become a two-weight world champion.
The move looked destined to be a clever decision by the UFC, adding some much needed star power to the division regardless of the result that came from it.
Garbrandt is one of the most popular fighters on the roster and many would see him as a genuine threat to the title, especially after the way he performed in his title fight against Dominick Cruz.
Unfortunately for fans all over the world, ‘No Love’ was forced to withdraw from the bout with injury. A replacement was found quickly in Alex Perez, graduate from the Dana White Contender Series and flyweight contender currently 6-1 under the UFC umbrella.
Figueiredo’s reign will begin on Sunday and he will be confident that it will be violent, but it may have to wait a little bit longer before it has some much needed star power to go with it.
A win under his belt at UFC 255 puts Figueiredo on a reign of terror, as king of the division without a genuine flyweight contender in sight. If Garbrandt comes down, he better watch his chin or watch himself back on tape the next day when he finally comes to.