No. 3 contender Deiveson Figueiredo weighed in over the limit for his fight against Joseph Benavidez at UFC Fight Night 169 on Saturday, meaning he will not be eligible to win the flyweight championship even if he wins the bout.
Figueiredo (17-1) came in at 127.5 pounds at the Friday weigh-in, 2.5 pounds over the 125-pound limit for flyweights.
Benavidez Still Eligible for Flyweight Title
Benavidez (28-5) made the weight, coming in at 124.5 pounds.
Figueiredo could have taken an extra hour in order to try to cut the excess weight. However, he chose not to make that attempt.
The fight will go on despite the failed weigh-in. However, while Benavidez can still claim the vacant flyweight crown should he win, a Figueiredo victory would leave the championship vacant. In addition, Figueiredo must forfeit 30 percent of his purse to Benavidez, win or lose.
Benavidez enters the fight as a -152 favorite over Figueiredo (+130), according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Typically, fighters are permitted to be up to one pound over the stated weight limit for their class at the time of the weigh-in without penalty. However, for title fights, competitors cannot be over the limit if they wish to be eligible to win the belt. In either case, fights can continue if both competitors wish to do so, with the fighter who came in above weight forfeiting a portion of their purse.
Figueiredo: Doctor Advised Against Weight Cut
According to a statement from manager Wallid Ismail, Figueiredo missed weight due to medical reasons.
“He felt a bad cramp and was nauseous. It was that. His doctor advised him to stop the weight cut,” Ismail said in a statement provided to BJPenn.com. “He wants to say thank you to Benavidez for still taking the fight and sorry to the fans and to the UFC for missing weight.”
Former champion Henry Cejudo vacated the flyweight championship late in 2019, saying that he preferred to focus on the 135-pound bantamweight division. Cejudo had held the titles at both weights previous to his decision.
That left UFC officials scrambling to find a suitable fight to fill the flyweight championship. Benavidez twice lost to Demetrious Johnson for the title when the UFC first introduced the flyweight division, and stood as the No. 1 contender, making him an obvious choice. Meanwhile, Figueiredo had lost only once in his career, and would have been making his first bid for a UFC title.
The UFC has never treated flyweight as a marquee division. At times, the promotions has considered dropping the 125-pound weight class entirely, particularly after Johnson was traded to the ONE Championship last year.
In fact, many credited Cejudo with saving the division. When Cejudo defeated Marlon Moraes at UFC 238 to win the bantamweight title, it brought a new wave of interest in the 125-pounders.
When Cejudo focusing on his bantamweight title, the flyweight division could again face scrutiny. Interest in the lowest weight class in the UFC could diminish further if the title remains vacant, which would now happen in the case of a Figueiredo win or a draw.