Deiveson Figueredo has missed weight ahead of his clash with Joseph Benavidez for the vacant 125lb title.
There was drama right up until the final moments of today’s official UFC Norfolk weigh-in as one of the two men set to compete for flyweight gold will no longer be eligible to take home the belt.
Deiveson Figueredo earned his shot at the strap following back-to-back victories over top-10 flyweights Alexandre Pantoja and Tim Elliott and with the perennial contender Joseph Benavidez in front of him, there was very little doubt among the fans that the UFC Norfolk main-event would decide exactly who the best 125lb fighter on the planet is.
ESPN‘s Ariel Helwani was the first to report the news live from UFC Norfolk’s official weigh-ins.
Originally given an additional hour to make the 125lb championship limit, it emerged shortly afterward that the Brazilian would not be weighing in again – leaving Benavidez as the only fighter of the two who can actually take home the vacant title this weekend.
As you would expect, the MMA world were left in a state of disappointment over the last-minute controversy and in many ways, some of the shine has faded from the event as a whole due to the fact that an entire division could well be a left in limbo if Figueredo does, in fact, get his hand raised.
Figueredo will forfeit 30% of his purse to Joseph Benavidez regardless of what happens inside the octagon on Saturday night and furthermore, even if he does come away with the win – the flyweight title will remain out of his reach.
This leaves the division in quite a bit of a mess. Seeing as this fight was pointed to as the first in a new era for 125lbs, we’re now staring down the possibility of a division without a champion.
As things stand, the UFC, Figueredo, or the team of Joseph Benavidez have yet to make any official statement on the matter – although we’re sure that the team of the Brazilian contender are no doubt hugely disappointed ahead of what should have been a massive moment for all involved.
Thankfully, the fight will go ahead as expected and UFC Norfolk will have its main-event.
With the future of the UFC flyweight division still in many ways in a state of uncertainty – the departure of the former champion Henry Cejudo was seen as a risky move when you consider the emphasis he put on saving the division originally.
Now, with the loss of both Cejudo and the long-time champion Demetrious Johnson, only time will tell exactly how successful things at 125 will be and based on what has transpired this evening, it’s pretty clear that we’re off to a bumpy start.