It's a busy time in mixed martial arts, with Fedor Emelianenko and Josh Barnett in the news and two big UFC shows coming in August. But our latest MMA twitter mailbag is all about World Extreme Cagefighting, which has a show coming up on August 9 on Versus.
MMAUSA: Any word on when @WEConVERSUS is going to add flyweights, and which flyweight fighters will be part of the mix?
I took your question directly to the source and asked the folks at the WEC.
"We are still actively building our flyweight class and hope to launch it in the coming months," WEC GM Reed Harris said. "As we have done with our other divisions, we are looking to acquire the best 125-pounders in the world. This division will not disappoint."
Currently, there just aren't any flyweight fighters that anyone other than the hardest of hard-core fans can name, so I think it's going to take the WEC a while to build up a flyweight class that will excite the fans. I've never even seen a flyweight fight on American soil, but I have seen some great fights in the flyweight division in Japanese promotions, and I'm excited about the 125-pound division that the WEC is going to build.
However, that 125-pound division suffered a bit of a setback last weekend when Shinichi Kojima lost a Shooto fight to Jussier da Silva. Kojima was widely regarded as the best flyweight fighter in the world, and when I talked to him at WEC 40 in April, he told me he was "very, very interested" in signing with the WEC. He might still do that, but he won't do it as the No. 1 flyweight in MMA.
I actually think it might turn out that a lot of the best flyweights in the WEC are fighters who are currently bantamweights in the WEC. The current bantamweight champion, Miguel Torres, is great enough to be champion for a long time, and some bantamweights will decide that the best chance to get a belt around their waist is to lose 10 pounds and fight at flyweight.
sarah_a_smith: Will the WEC show get enough attention following on the heels of a UFC?
That's certainly a risk: The UFC is basically the WEC's big brother, and with UFC 101 coming a day before WEC 42, you could see how little brother could get overshadowed.
But I think the folks at Zuffa are usually smart enough about the way they promote things that they're actually going to use UFC 101 to draw more attention to WEC 42. I think we'll hear about WEC 42 during the UFC 101 broadcast, and I think the UFC will use outlets like its Twitter page and its YouTube channel to remind fans that there's more MMA on the horizon the day after UFC 101.
For as great as Anderson Silva, Forrest Griffin, BJ Penn and Kenny Florian are, you could make a good case that Miguel Torres is a better pound-for-pound fighter than any of them, and I expect his fight with Brian Bowles to get plenty of attention.
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