New ACB fighter Zach Makovsky doesn’t think his former home, the UFC, who he parted ways with earlier this year, does a good job of marketing the flyweight division.
After his last fight, a unanimous decision loss to Dustin Ortiz at UFC 206 last December, flyweight Zach Makovksy didn’t expect to remain with the UFC. The Ortiz fight marked the last fight on Makovsky’s contract with the organization, and because the loss extended his skid to three in a row, he wasn’t surprised his fairly longtime home decided not to sign the Tristar product to a new deal.
During his run with the company, Makovsky was never treated poorly, he said. But he isn’t a fan of the amount of exposure the 125-pound division receives from the UFC and believes that the division is far from a priority for the leading mixed martial arts promotion — and he is far from the only person to have that opinion.
“I think they’re not doing a good job of trying to make the division successful,” Makovsky told BloodyElbow.com’s The MMA Circus. “As far as treatment personally, I don’t have any problems. But they certainly didn’t do anything to help us out.
“I think the reason nobody can get too excited is because most of the time, they put [flyweights] on the undercard. You win a couple fights on the undercard and they give you a title shot before you’ve really had any kind of steam or promotion behind you. It’s just kind of (UFC flyweight champion) Demetrious (Johnson) vs. insert name here. I feel like they haven’t done a good job of building the division around Demetrious. Demetrious is incredible. He’s probably the most well-rounded fighter I’ve seen and really just incredible in every area. They have him at the top, and it’s kind of like a mess beneath him.”
The UFC also recently parted ways with top flyweights Kyoji Horiguchi and Ali Bagautinov. Additionally, to some criticism, the promotion did not sign the entire TUF 24 cast, despite it being full of regional champions who would significantly increase the division’s depth. Instead, it only signed a handful of the season’s contestants. As days pass, it seems more and more realistic to believe the organization doesn’t care about its 125-pound division as much as its others.
Makovsky is just as surprised — and concerned — by some of these moves as everyone else.
“I think [Horiguchi and Bagautinov] are also two ultra-talented guys, some of the best in the world,” Makovsky said. “I’m not really sure what [the UFC’s] idea is, what they’re trying to do, but it doesn’t really make sense to me.”
To add onto all of that, often times the UFC schedules its flyweight contenders for preliminary cards, despite sometimes being ranked higher than many of the fighters on the main card. As Makovsky stated earlier, when it comes to promoting the division’s contenders as title challengers, this far from helps.
For example, Makovsky himself faced Ortiz in the first fight of the night at UFC 206. Both him and Ortiz were ranked going into that fight, while four of the six other preliminary fights did not include a ranked fighter, and nor did one of the main card bouts, as well.
“I don’t know why they structure the bout orders on the cards the way they do, why they hide flyweights on the undercard — even if there are title implications for those guys,” he said. “There’s been cards where the two highest-ranked guys are on the undercard.”
With the UFC in his rear-view mirror, the 34-year-old very recently signed with Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB), a rising promotion based in Russia. He doesn’t have his debut set in stone yet, but he’s looking forward to seeing what his new home has in store for him in the near future.
“I’m very excited to be fighting with ACB,” he said. “I didn’t know a ton about them before, but they seem to run a quality show with a lot of good fighters. We’ll see after my first actual fight there how it goes. But I’ve heard all good things so far.”
Immediately after Makovsky officially parted ways with the UFC, he received an offer from Eurasia Fight Nights (EFN), but it was one he could not “live off of.” And according to the flyweight, he would have likely retired from the sport had he not found a deal he could make a living from. So he turned the first offer he received down and was patient.
“I wasn’t in a rush,” Makovsky said. “I wanted to not just grab the first offer I received, but kind of feel out who’s interested and what kind of money I’m being offered.”
Makovsky narrowed down a handful of offers to two: one from ACB and one from Japan-based Rizin FF. Ultimately, it came down to which organization offered him the better deal and was more interested in what he had to offer as a fighter, and that was ACB.
Interestingly, ACB will pay Makovsky a small amount more than what he was getting paid by the UFC in the latter part of his tenure.
“Because there were some organizations competing against each other, my contract with ACB actually starts just slightly higher than my UFC contract ended,” he said. “So I’m getting a very slight pay raise, but relatively, it’s about exactly the same.”