Speculation that the UFC were on the brink of closing down their flyweight division began last month with the news that long time champion Demetrious Johnson had been ‘traded’ to ONE Championship with undefeated welterweight Ben Askren coming the other way.
It now seems that those rumours were correct, with FloCombat reporting the news that the UFC would be closing the division and only allowing some of the 125lb fighters to move up to bantamweight. The rest will be released from their deals.
The first flyweight on the UFC chopping block appears to be Jose ‘Shorty’ Torres (8-1-0)(1-1-0 UFC), who took to Twitter earlier this evening to explain that he is now a free agent and why he feels he was the first to be cut by the promotion.
“The flyweight division is going,” Torres said. “I did kind of call it. Sadly, because I called it and because I was publicly talking about it first, it probably was because of that [I was] first on the chopping block. So sadly, I am not a UFC fighter anymore, I am a free agent. You know, it’s part of the sport. This stuff happens. Again, sadly we didn’t pick up enough fanbase for the UFC. I appreciate every opportunity I was given. Sadly again, 29 days, two fights, 54 pounds to prepare for my last two opponents. Given my last fight wasn’t the best and I won my first one by a ‘lucky knockout,’ I was on the chop block because of it. So, who wants to sign me? I’m looking for a fight.”
Another early victim of the flyweight purge is the man Torres faced in his UFC debut, Jarred Brooks (14-2-0)(2-2-0 UFC), who also used Twitter to let his fans know that he had been released along with “a lot of other flyweights”.
Considering Brooks’ comment that “a lot of other flyweights” have been released, it is likely only a matter of time before more fighters come forward via social media to announce they have entered free agency.
Prior to the announcements by Torres and Brooks, the UFC had 35 flyweight’s signed to deals with just 15 of those fighters owning winning records during their time with the promotion. Considering the UFC have already released two fighters who held excellent professional records, albeit 50/50 UFC records, it begs the question of just how many of their remaining roster will be allowed the opportunity to retain their jobs and try their hand at 135lbs?
With the free agent market seemingly on the brink of being flooded by flyweights, it would appear to be a buyers market with the likes of ONE, Combate Americas, Bellator and potentially PFL being the main benefactors of the UFC’s decision.