The UFC flyweight division continues without a king after an overweight Deiveson Figueiredo flattened Joseph Benavidez in the main event of UFC Norfolk on Saturday, and a top-ranked 125-pounder put Figueiredo on blast.
Jussier Formiga, who faces Brandon Moreno at UFC Brasilia on March 14, was hoping to insert himself in the title picture with a victory in two weeks, but now wonders what’s the future holds as the flyweight championship remains vacant.
“This belt deserved an owner, even if it was Deiveson or Benavidez, but Deiveson f*cked up by missing weight,” Formiga told MMA Fighting. “It really was very unprofessional. I don’t know what happened, I can’t judge the guy, but if you’re fighting for the belt you can’t miss weight. It’s bad for the division, for the UFC, for the public.
“At least he did his homework and won, which is important, but left the belt vacant and we don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m fighting Brandon in two weeks and I think this fight can decide a lot of things. We’ll see what happens.”
Formiga unsurprisingly defends that the winner of his upcoming fight deserves to face Figueiredo for the UFC belt instead of an immediate rematch between “Deus da Guerra” and Benavidez, which was suggested by Figueiredo’s manager Wallid Ismail.
Formiga scored a decision victory over Figueiredo when they fought in the Octagon in March 2019, but his record shows a pair of TKO losses to Benavidez.
“Even though Deiveson missed weight, he won the fight and can become a contender again,” Formiga said. “We have a fight against a top-5 in two weeks, I’m the No. 2, so a lot of things can happen in our weight class. Just be patient and see what the matchmakers will do. It’s up to the UFC. It’s up to us fighters, too, and our performances. I’m highly motivated for my fight.”
As for the potential end of the flyweight division, an idea that gained traction before Henry Cejudo dethroned Demetrious Johnson and successfully defended his title against T.J. Dillashaw, Formiga offers a passionate defense of his weight class.
“There was a rumor that the division was going to end, but then Cejudo went there and beat Demetrious,” Formiga said. “That was good, but then he quickly left to bantamweight. Okay, at least the division is not stuck anymore. But all fighters can’t pay for one fighter’s mistake. Deiveson was the one that fucked up. Okay, he went there and won, but the whole division can’t pay for his fuckup, right? We have a lot of wood to burn and things to show.
“(Women’s featherweight division) doesn’t have 10 fighters and the division continues, so it doesn’t make sense to end our division. We have a top 15 that is full of tough athletes. The top 5 has three Brazilians, Deiveson, (Alexandre) Pantoja and I, and we have great chances of winning this belt for Brazil.”