UFC Flyweight Division Breakdown: Who Are The Real Contenders?
The UFC flyweight division has five to seven real contenders, making it an interesting division to watch in 2021. Here are the true contenders at 125 pounds.
Champion: Deiveson Figueiredo
Figueiredo is clearly legit. Coming off one of the best fights of the year in 2020, he will defend his belt at UFC 263 in June. His combination of speed and power is what has made him the guy to beat in the flyweight division.
#1 Flyweight Contender: Brandon Moreno
To say Moreno is a true contender is a no-brainer. Most recently, he fought to a draw against Figueiredo in December of last year and the 27-year-old showed the world his elite abilities as he gave Figueiredo the toughest fight of his career. Moreno is a great wrestler with a tremendous chin and great striking on the feet, and his next matchup against Figueiredo should be a candidate for the fight of the year.
#2: Askar Askarov
Askar Askarov is probably the closest complete fighter in the division to Figueiredo and Moreno. He defeated Joseph Benavidez in a title eliminator at UFC 259, and his combination of defense and superior wrestling has made him a threat to beat anyone in the division.
#3: Alexandre Pantoja
Alexandre Pantoja is as tough as they come, and do not be surprised if a belt soon appears around his waist. He has eight wins by knockout, submission, and decision in the UFC, and this well-roundedness gives him an edge. He knows he can knock someone out quickly, take them down via submission, or just go to war with them.
#4: Alex Perez
Alex Perez is mainly a wrestler, though his striking is accurate as well. He most recently fought the champion at UFC 255 and lost by submission in the first round. At this point, whether or not Perez can truly challenge for a belt remains unclear.
#5: Joseph Benavidez
Benavidez’s main issue is his striking. He only lands significant strikes at 35%, but that is mostly due to the sheer number of punches he throws every fight. Benavidez’s active striking makes him a good fight for any fighters in the top five and in addition to the volume of his strikes, he is a decent wrestler and goes for a lot of takedowns, averaging about 1.5 per 15 minutes.
Who Is Left?
The only fighters not in the top five of the UFC flyweight division who have a chance at challenging for the belt are Rogerio Bontorin and Kai Kara France. Bontorin put on an absolute show at UFC 262 in his victory over Matt Schnell. He has a good arsenal of weapons to complement his striking. France is a knockout artist with the power to put anyone in the division to sleep. It is possible that either man will find himself in a title fight soon, but fans hoping to see either win a belt should not hold their breath.