When Magomed Bibulatov entered the UFC, he was hailed as one of the best flyweight prospects in the world. The Chechen fighter sported a spotless 13-0 record, having picked up championship belts in World Series of Fighting, Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB), and World Fighting Championship Akhmat (WFCA). Three years later and it’s safe to say his career in the Octagon hasn’t quite panned out the way many expected.
MMA DNA’s Marcel Dorff reports that Bibulatov has re-signed with Kadyrov’s MMA organization under the newly minted Absolute Championship Akhmat banner (formed with the combining of WFCA & ACB in late 2018). But, ‘Chaborz’ leaving the UFC likely has less to do with his disappointing 1-2 win/loss record in the world’s largest MMA promotion, and more to do with the apparently ongoing plan to shutter the men’s flyweight division.
A long-standing threat from Dana White, the UFC’s disinterest in their lightest men’s weight-class became readily apparent when they ‘traded’ record-setting former champion Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship—fresh off his narrow title defeat at the hands of Henry Cejudo. In the months following the promotion appears to have instituted a policy whereby every fighter that loses their next flyweight bout gets shown the door.
Bibulatov picked up a highly questionable split decision loss to the debuting Rogerio Bontorin, back at UFC Fight Night: Assuncao vs. Moares in February. And it appears his release from the UFC has quickly followed. Over the months, he’s been joined by Brandon Moreno, Matheus Nicolau, Dustin Ortiz, John Moraga, and many others, as the division continues to be whittled away.
Currently, a rematch between top ranked veterans Joseph Benavidez and Jussier Formiga is the only flyweight bout on the UFC’s schedule. Once it’s in the books, one more fighter may see his time in the Octagon come to an unceremonious end.