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Update: UFC Excited About Scouting Trip to Mexico

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January 30, 2013

The UFC recently embarked on a scouting trip to Mexico, searching for talent for a Mexican version of 'The Ultimate Fighter.' UFC President Dana White is excited about the trip, calling it 'very successful.'

With a successful flyweight title fight on network TV in the rearview mirror, the UFC isn't done moving down in weight. The promotion recently embarked on a scouting trip to Mexico, where it started the search for fighters in a potential 115-pound weight class.

The thinking appears to be that, based on the search, a future season of "The Ultimate Fighter" in Mexico could be filled with fighters in that weight class, and then the division ultimately could be introduced to the UFC as a whole.

Just this past year, the UFC added the flyweight division, and last Saturday, Demetrious Johnson defended that title with a unanimous decision win over John Dodson in the main event of UFC at United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

After that card, UFC President Dana White told reporters that the Mexico trip went well, and there's excitement in the company about the potential for the strawweight division.

"It went very well," White stated. "A lot of guys showed up to try out. It was very successful, and the guys we sent down were very excited with what they saw."

White likened the early buzz from the Mexico trip to what the company experienced before it returned to Brazil in 2011 with one exception. White has been talking about his hopes for UFC success in Mexico for a while, and he's still talking about it. But he remains confident the tide is about to turn.

"The way that Brazil caught on fire and took off Mexico's taking a lot longer than I thought it would, but it's coming," he said. "The culture in Mexico, they're fighters. The greatest fighters in history come from Mexico, and there's that whole famous Mexican style of fighting and you see it some of the guys we have here now. It's getting there slower than I thought it was going to, but when it all comes together, it's going to be amazing."

With the flyweight division just a little more than a year old, there have been questions about whether it has found enough success in the early going. The inclusion of a title fight in the division on a free FOX card was looked at from two sides that it puts the division in front of more eyeballs to gain more fans, or that the division wasn't strong enough to headline a pay-per-view card.

But White defended that division, even while knowing he'll probably have to fight the same battles when the company brings the 115-pound class along.

"I think you had some people talking smack here and there about the flyweights," White said. "But if you're a real fight fan, how do you not like the action? How do you not like Joe Benavidez? How do you not like Johnson and Dodson that were here tonight? When people say stuff like that to me, it's hard for me to respond without being a real a-hole. It's really hard for me."