At the dawn of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight division, Jussier Da Silva was widely regarded as one of its top contenders. With a very impressive mixed martial arts (MMA) record (14-1) before his Octagon debut, "Formiga" was known as a talented fighter skilled in all facets of the sport.
And with his only loss coming to Ian McCall -- one of the other more notable 125-pound standouts at that time -- many MMA fans thought that he might be a contender for the division's title in no time.
Unfortunately, his UFC debut came against The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14 winner, John Dodson, who quickly exposed da Silva's limitations as a fighter. His speed is not that impressive for a flyweight, which became evident when Dodson continually beat him to the punch and eventually finished him late in the second round.
Dodson had his way with him on the ground, too.
Following that defeat, Da Silva went even (1-1) in his next two bouts, picking up a win over Chris Cariaso, but dropping his next fight to Joseph Benavidez. The Cariaso victory showed some promise, but Benavidez swiftly reminded us of all the shortcomings "Formiga" showed in his loss to Dodson, getting licked with a quick technical knockout just three minutes into the match.
Nonetheless, with the Flyweight division being as weak as it is, da Silva's title hopes are not yet out of the question. He faces Scott Jorgensen tonight (Sun., March 23, 2014) at UFC Fight Night 38, which takes place at Nelio Dias Gymnasium in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil.
And a win over the former No. 1-ranked Bantamweight contender could put him right back into the mix atop the Flyweight division.
Jorgensen is definitely a beatable opponent for Formiga. And to be honest, it is his fight to lose. We have seen Jorgensen's decline in recent fights, and at this he probably doesn't have what it takes to be a top fighter much longer. Jorgensen's only notable advantage over da Silva is likely his wrestling ... and even that hasn't looked too sharp in recent bouts of his.
Formiga will be the fighter more likely to get a finish here, able to dictate how -- and where -- he wants the fight to go.
At UFC Fight Night 38, Jussier "Formiga" da Silva needs to show a little bit of what made him such a hot commodity before coming to UFC. His skills as a fighter are very good, but he will need to improve himself both athletically and technically if he wants to be among the elite in UFC's lightest weight class.
Hopefully, we'll see some of these improvements when he fights Jorgensen tonight and many more as he climbs the contender ladder.