UFC president Dana White understood when he instituted the company's flyweight division that it would take time to build the 125-pounders into pay-per-view headliners. After all, it took several years of basic cable exposure for featherweight and bantamweight fighters in the WEC before the likes of Jose Aldo Jr. and Urijah Faber were ready to headline on pay-per-view.
So as far as the UFC's head honcho is concerned, the 125-pound weight class, which is less than two years old, is moving along right on schedule. The UFC on FOX 8 main event between flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and John Moraga on July 27 will mark the second straight flyweight title fight to headline live on network television.
"What we have to do is, 'Mighty Mouse' has been on a lot of big cards, he's going to fight on FOX again," White said on a Tuesday media teleconference. "We're in the building phase of that division.
There has been criticism in some circles of Johnson's style, in which he uses his speed, footwork and cardio to wear down his opponents. His last seven fights and nine of his past 10 have gone the distance.
For his part, though, White said there's a difference between fighters who go the distance in exciting matchups and fighters who simply grind out decisions. White praised Johnson's effort in his last bout, a compelling back-and-forth rumble with John Dodson at UFC on FOX 6, which Johnson won via unanimous decision.
"I think that Ben Henderson has fights that have gone to decisions, controversial decisions," White said. "Demetrious has gone to decisions. You know as long as they're exciting fights, there are all different types of fighters. Some guys go in and they knock people out. Some guys pull off submissions, some guys go to decisions and have exciting fights. The last fight with Demetrious was an exciting fight."
Moraga, who will meet Johnson at Seattle's KeyArena, was among those who have criticized "Mighty Mouse," as he called the champion's style "boring." Moraga wouldn't add fuel to the fire on Tuesday -- in fact, he had little to say at all -- but Johnson says he takes all the critiques in stride.
"I honestly don't care," Johnson said. "It's his opinion, everyone is entitled to his opinion, and it is what it is."