UFC scaling back on flyweights; Jose Torres claims division scrapped after release
The UFC has no imminent plans to scrap its flyweight division, but a veteran 125-pound fighter claims the weight class is headed for the scrap bin.
Jose Torres told MMAjunkie that he was released from the UFC on Wednesday morning and was informed that the promotion plans to shutter the division entirely. Torres initially posted his claim in response to a tweet from FloCombat.com.
A person with knowledge of the UFC’s plan said the organization is, indeed, currently looking to trim down the flyweight roster. That person is not publicly authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The person added there is currently no directive to immediately eliminate the division.
A separate industry veteran with knowledge of the UFC’s plans told MMAjunkie the promotion will eliminate the weight class but said it’s not yet clear whether the fighters currently signed will be immediately released or fight out their contracts.
Six days ago, Torres released a video on social media predicting the division would soon cease to exist with the “trade” of ex-champ Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship. To hedge his bet, he said his representative called UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard and was assured he would fight early next year.
But several days later, Torres said, he was informed that the promotion did plan to eliminate flyweights. He volunteered to compete as a bantamweight, where he won a title under the Titan FC banner prior to his UFC signing. Instead, his future was cast into doubt.
“They were like, ‘We know you can win, but can you be champion? We’re not trying to sign guys just to fight. We’re trying to sign guys who could compete for the title, and we just don’t see you doing that,’ mainly because of my last performance,” Torres told MMAjunkie.
Torres, who also won flyweight gold in Titan FC, suffered a first-round knockout loss in August at UFC 227. He plans to seek a contract with another promotion.
“Something that (Demetrious Johnson) proved, there’s not just one promotion,” Torres said. “You have ONE, Rizin, Brave, and so many more.
“I don’t want to just fight 125. I want to fight (at flyweight and bantamweight). The UFC never gave me the opporunity. I want to fight for a promotion that will help me shine.”
According to BloodyElbow.com, which maintains a list of active UFC fighters, a total of 34 fighters compete in the flyweight division.
In October, former UFC bantamweight champion Dominck Cruz told ESPN.com that the promotion was laying the groundwork for the dissolution of the weight class.
Asked about a potential fight with current flyweight champ Henry Cejudo, who dethroned Johnson in August with an upset decision, Cruz said the promotion’s attempts to book a superfight between Cejudo and bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw spelled the end for 125-pound fighters in the octagon.
“Why would you make a fight with Cejudo to come up? That will legitimately kill the 125-pound division in itself,” Cruz said. “That’s the only thing I can think of, and that’s the only reason they would move me out of the way and try and move Cejudo up. Because now you have to make a case for other (125-pound fighters) as they move up.”
Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 139 card features one flyweight bout: Joseph Morales vs. Eric Shelton. Ray Borg vs. Joseph Benavidez had been scheduled until Borg withdrew earlier Wednesday. There are three other flyweight bouts on the promotion’s event lineup for the rest of the year.
For more on the UFC’s schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.