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The UFC is reportedly scrapping the flyweight division at the end of 2018

Sporting News logo Sporting News 11/7/2018
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The UFC is reportedly scrapping the men's flyweight division at the end of 2018.

The news was first broken by Flo Combat this week, but there had been rumours swirling for months that the 125-pound weight class was on the way out.

If true, the move comes just weeks after former long-time flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson was traded to rival promotion One Championship.

According to Flo Combat, some current flyweights will be asked to move up to bantamweight (135lbs) but many others will be cut.

Jose Torres took to social media to say that he had been one of the first fighters cut without being able to finish his contract. 

"So, since Flo Combat already announced it, they're 100% right, the flyweight division is going, and I did kinda call it," Torres said in a video posted to Twitter.

"Sadly because I called it and was publicly talking about it first, I probably was - because of that - the first on the chopping block.

"Sadly, I'm not a UFC fighter anymore, I'm a free agent. It's part of the sport, this stuff happens and sadly we didn't pick up enough of a fan base for the UFC, but I appreciate every opportunity I was given.

"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 me? I'm looking for a fight."

In a Periscope video, Jared Brooks, another UFC flyweight, confirmed that he had also been let go.

"Just letting you know that they just cut me along with a lot of other flyweights," Brooks said.

"I'm pretty surprised. I'm not surprised as far as fans and the promotional side, but I'm surprised that they let this happen - that we couldn't have people tune in and give us respect.

"We have the most technique, the most speed. It's not like we don't have knockouts.

"We have some of the best fighters you've ever seen. Half of the most technical fighters you'll see are small."

Closer to home, Ben Nguyen, Ashkan Mokhtarian and Kai Kara-France will all be affected by the news.

Ranked 11th in the division, Nguyen is scheduled to fight seventh ranked Wilson Reis at UFC Adelaide on December 2. Nguyen is coming off a third round submission defeat to Jussier Formiga at UFC 221 in Perth in February, and is 4-2 in the UFC.

Sydney-based Mokhtarian is 0-2 in the UFC, dropping a decision to John Moraga in Auckland last year, before being knocked out by Ryan Benoit in Sydney last November.

Aucklander Kara-France is set to make his UFC debut opposite Moktarian in Adelaide in December. The 25-year-old earned a long-awaited UFC call-up this year after appearing on The Ultimate Fighter in 2016.

He earned a stunning first-round knockout win over Terrence Mitchell in the first round of competition, before dropping a unanimous decision to Alexandre Pantoja in the second round. Pantoja was eventually signed by the UFC and is 3-1 with wins over Brandon Moreno, Neil Seery and Eric Shelton.

It is unclear at this stage whether Nguyen, Moktarian or Kara-France will move up to bantamweight.

Of the eight UFC events remaining in 2018, there are three cards with five flyweight fights on them. Other bouts may be added to some cards.

UFC Denver

Joseph Morales vs Eric Shelton

Mark de la Rosa vs Jobe Sanchez

UFC Buenos Aires

Alexandre Pantoja vs Ulka Sasaki

UFC Adelaide

Kai Kara-France vs Ashkan Mokhtarian

Ben Nguyen vs Wilson Reis

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