Joseph Benavidez versus Demetrious Johnson was the flyweight fight tabbed as the inevitable UFC 125-pound tournament final. And though Ian McCall tried his best to prevent it, Benavidez-Johnson is the fight we'll get.
A packed calendar and avalanche of injuries likely means the first UFC flyweight title fight will happen sooner than later, which shouldn't elicit complaints from anyone. Thus far, flyweights have produced as advertised, delivering high-paced, expertly skilled, tactical, emotional MMA.
For those reasons and more, when Benavidez and Johnson step into the Octagon expectations will be ratcheted up.
Benavidez is the odds-on favorite (as he should be based on his stellar record at bantamweight and the way he tore apart Yasuhiro Urushitani in March) and his combination of speed, power and grappling ability makes him among the best packaged fighters in MMA.
But don't make the mistake of dismissing Johnson because of it. Mighty Mouse's quick-burst style and wrestling are proven commodities at this stage, too. He is capable of besting Benavidez in these areas, and could even win a scramble or two.
Yet over the course of the 25-minute fight, chances are much better that Benavidez hurts Johnson than the alternative. Punching power, that's Benavidez's clear advantage against Johnson, and was among the most sensible arguments why he came to the tournament favored to win it all.
Before turning our full attention to what's happening later this year, let's first recap Friday's UFC offering on FX, headlined, of course, by Johnson's points win against McCall.
The main card thankfully delivered quality MMA following a less-than- stellar stretch on the uninspired undercard.