It looks like Joseph Benavidez will have to wait for his rematch with flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, because the UFC has decided to give the title shot to John Moraga. While Moraga is not that well known in the UFC, it does not make him any less dangerous, and it is better to insert fresh blood into a title fight than have constant rematches. The bout will take place at the TUF 17 Finale on April 13 in Las Vegas, N.V. at the Hard Rock. The card also contains a pivotal match-up in the women’s bantamweight division between Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano.
Moraga brings a record of 13-1 into this title fight, and his only loss comes to former number-one contender John Dodson. He may have only fought twice in the Octagon, but those bouts were as impressive as they come. A knockout in the first round over Ulysses Gomez and a guillotine choke in the third round over Chris Cariaso gave a clear indication as to his potential to be a title contender – no one knew it would come this soon, though. Of course, the background of a Division 1 wrestler, and training at the MMA Lab with the likes of Benson Henderson and Jaime Varner, does not hurt either.
Johnson trains with Matt Hume up in Washington, and Hume is known for telling Johnson that he could be a champion if he put all his effort into MMA. That inspired Johnson to become a full-time MMA fighter, and it paid dividends, as he became the first UFC Flyweight Champion. His only losses have come at bantamweight to longtime champion Dominick Cruz and MMA veteran Brad Pickett. So far he has taken out top five 125-pound fighters Ian McCall, Benavidez and Dodson. Now he has a chance to defend his title for the second time and move himself up the pound-for-pound ladder.