Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson pose during the UFC 152 pre-fight press conference at the Real Sports Bar and Grill in Toronto on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
In the co-main event, at UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort, Joseph Benavidez (16-2 MMA; 3-0 UFC) takes on Demetrious Johnson (15-2-1 MMA; 3-1-1 UFC). This fight is to determine the first ever UFC Flyweight champion. The USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings don't yet include Flyweights in their rankings, and both of these fighters are new to the division, but it would be fair to call the winner here the world's #1 Flyweight. The UFC 152 PPV airs live Saturday night September 22 at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT.
This was originally scheduled as the night's main event. However, after the Jon Jones/Chael Sonnen/Dan Henderson UFC 151 fiasco, Jones vs. Belfort was added to the card, and this title fight was bumped down to co-main event status. Which, to be honest, is probably a good thing. This fight is almost destined to be incredible, but it would not have been much of a draw. Hopefully now, these two can tear the house down in front of a larger viewing audience and get the Flyweight title off to a hot start.
How do these two stack up?
Benavidez: 28 years old | 5'4" | 65" reach
Johnson: 26 years old | 5'3" | 66" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Joseph Benavidez is a teammate of Urijah Faber at Team Alpha Male. He comes to this fight through the WEC Bantamweight division, where he challenged Dominick Cruz for the belt. In fact, Cruz is the only man to have ever defeated Benavidez, defeating him on two separate occasions. This is just his second fight at Flyweight, as he defeated Urushitani with ease in the Flyweight tournament semi-final. Like all Alpha Male fighters, Benavidez is tenacious on both the ground and the feet, and a tough challenge for any opponent.
Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson also came to the UFC as a Bantamweight out of the WEC. He had quick success in the UFC, defeating Kid Yamamoto and Miguel Torres to earn his own shot at Cruz. After that loss, he made the drop to Flyweight, drawing Ian McCall in the tournament. Their first fight was great, but marred by a judging error that forced a rematch. Johnson took that rematch much more definitively. A trainee of Matt Hume, Johnson has great wrestling and is remarkably fast on his feet, even for a 125 pounder.
Why should you care?
Because this is going to be ridiculously awesome, that's why. It also crowns a new champion, which is cool. But come on - 5 rounds of these guys? That is tremendous.
More UFC 152 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.