The old saw in mixed martial arts is that the lighter weight classes (anything below welterweight; especially anything below lightweight) just don't catch the common fan's interest. They won't sell pay-per-views, and they won't draw viewers to free TV telecasts. But perhaps things are about to change. Last night's UFC on Fox telecast, headlined by Demetrious Johnson defending his UFC Flyweight Championship against John Dodson, drew a very, very strong overnight rating. The event averaged 3.77 million viewers, and won the night with a 1.8 rating/6 share among the coveted 18-49 age group.
The overnight numbers (which will definitely increase once more data comes in) make last night's UFC telecast the third highest rated UFC on Fox event (according to overnight ratings), trailing only the first two installments. Flyweights might be small, but they pack a punch – and the general public might be catching on to that fact.
The final numbers for the show 4.219 million viewers, with 5.2 million on average watching the Johnson-Dodson main event. That makes that match the 14th most watched MMA bout in U.S. TV history. SOURCE
UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs dos Santos: 5.7 million viewers
UFC on Fox: Evans vs Davis: 4.7 million viewers
UFC on Fox: Diaz vs Miller: 2.4 million viewers
UFC on Fox: Shogun vs Vera: 2.36 million viewers
UFC on Fox: Henderson vs Diaz: 4.4 million viewers
UFC on Fox: Johnson vs Dodson: 4.219 million viewers