Dana White praises new UFC flyweight champ Deiveson Figueiredo, says division will stay put

ABU DHABI – The UFC has a new 125-pound king – and Dana White is impressed.

After UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo brutalized and submitted multi-time title challenger Joseph Benavidez at UFC on ESPN+ 30, the UFC president praised his newest strapholder at the post-fight news conference.

“Pure violence,” White told MMA Junkie at the post-fight news conference. “No controversy in this one. We have pretty nasty champions in those two divisions now.”

As recently as early this year, the UFC future of the men’s flyweight division was clouded. With the promotion cutting approximately half of its divisional roster, the lightest men’s weight class in the company potentially seemed on its way out.

Saturday, White sang a different tune, as he indicated the men’s flyweight division isn’t going anywhere.

“When was the last time I talked about getting rid of the (flyweight) division?” White said. “Yeah, it’s here. Look at how good this guy looked tonight. Look what he did. (There was) a ton of controversy in the first fight from weight to headbutts. (There was) no controversy in this one. The guy came in and did what he said he was going to do against the No. 2 ranked guy in the world and he looked damn good doing it.

Earlier in the lineup, the UFC on ESPN+ 30 main card opener featured Alexandre Pantoja, a fighter who was serving as a backup had either Figueiredo (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) or Benavidez or withdrawn from the fight. Pantoja was defeated by fellow flyweight Askar Askarov via unanimous decision.

Despite Askarov beating the fighter the promotion had pegged as the next title challenger after Benavidez, the UFC president wasn’t willing to commit to Figueiredo’s first title defense opponnent.

“When I get home, we’ll figure that stuff out,” White said.

Figueiredo has expressed his interest in becoming a two-weight world champion one day. White didn’t rule out this possibility. but said the Brazilian will have to pick up a few more wins at his current weight class before the UFC entertains the idea.

“I’d like to see him defend his title a couple times,” White said. “Maybe if he defends the title a couple of times, that’ll be interesting, yeah.”

The flyweight title bout was the UFC on ESPN+ 30 main event at Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. It streamed on ESPN+.

Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2020/07/dana-white-ufc-flyweight-champ-deiveson-figueiredo-division-stays-put/

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