It has been rumored for a long time, and the Demetrious Johnson “trade” to ONE Championship was the biggest indicator yet at the time that the UFC was looking to scrap their flyweight division. A few 125-pound fighters have spoken about it already since then, and despite the UFC’s strange decision to make the T.J. Dillashaw vs. Henry Cejudo superfight for the 125-pound title instead of the bantamweight belt, the writing is on the wall for flyweight.
And today brought a little more evidence of things going in that direction.
The UFC rankings are usually updated on the Wednesday after an event, unless someone is released and they feel the need to remove them from their respective division immediately. Today, three ranked fighters were removed from 125 - Brandon Moreno, Matheus Nicolau, and Hector Sandoval.
TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter tweeted about it:
It appears that Hector Sandoval, Brandon Moreno and Matheus Nicolau have been removed from the flyweight rankings. This typically indicates that they are no longer with the promotion.— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) November 13, 2018
If I'm Combate Americas, I'm signing Moreno as soon as humanly possible.
Moreno is the highest-profile of those three. He had been ranked as high as seven in the division, and headlined a card in Mexico City where he dropped a decision to Sergio Pettis. He is still only 24. The 25-year-old Nicolau went 3-1 in four UFC fights, while Sandoval was 2-2 in the promotion. Both Nicolau and Sandoval lost their last respective outings to Dustin Ortiz.
This caused the bottom of the rankings to change up a fair amount, with fighters like Alex Perez moving up spots despite just cracking the rankings in the last couple of weeks. In an amusing note, Neil Seery is now ranked as the 15th contender in the division. The problem with that? He retired in July 2017.
I guess that tells us everything we need to know about the fate of the 125ers.