Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearAt the end of the day, the UFC is going to book things how they see fit and fighters are going to have to figure out the what decisions are best for their careers.Of course, all of this could be solved if the promotion just had champions defend against deserving contenders within their own division and didn’t constantly chase the biggest fight possible at every turn. Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearHenry Cejudo knocking out TJ Dillashaw in their flyweight championship fight two weeks ago at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York was the worst possible outcome for the members of the 135-pound ranks.While the victory will likely produce another “Champion vs. Champion” clash for the UFC to promote and would afford the Olympic gold medalist the opportunity to become the fourth “Double Champ” in the company’s history, a rematch between the two would also bring the championship chase in the bantamweight division to a grinding halt and recent history has shown everyone what happens to a division when the chance to challenge for the title is taken off the table.The middleweight ranks were brimming with established names and intriguing matchups heading into 2017, with five men — Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero, Chris Weidman, Ronaldo Souza, and Gegard Mousasi — chasing down champion Michael Bisping, with rising stars Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum working their way up the rankings.But with “The Count” waiting on a superfight with Georges St-Pierre, the robust collection of talent assembled within the 185-pound weight class started to cannibalize itself and by the time 2018 rolled around, the landscape looked entirely different.Bisping was on a two-fight losing streak and would ultimately announce his retirement, while St-Pierre relinquished the middleweight strap 33 days after winning it and hasn’t fought since.Whittaker, who claimed interim gold in an instant classic against Romero at UFC 213, was promoted to undisputed champion, with Rockhold set to challenge for the title in the early part of the year after getting the better of David Branch in his first bout since losing the title to Bisping at UFC 199.Romero and Souza were both coming off losses and were another year older, while Weidman was sidelined with a thumb injury after ending his losing streak the previous summer. After losing to Weidman in July, Gastelum rebounded by knocking out Bisping in half a round four months later, propelling himself into the title conversation despite it being his first official win in over a year.With the top of the division stalled, the rest of the ranks begin to back up as well, with quality wins that should move fighters forward only keeping them in place, leading to less impactful victories and unnecessary losses throughout the ranks.The same thing happened at both lightweight and featherweight when Conor McGregor spent his first year as champion in each weight class not defending his title. And while both divisions are emerging from those extended murky periods and have the depth to deal with contenders and upstarts getting knocked off with limited returns, no one would argue that the divisions are better off for having endured lengthy stretches where the title was effectively out of circulation.What makes the current potential detours and delays at the top of the bantamweight division even worse is that there are matchups in place over the next several months designed to establish a pecking order and push the division forward, but now they’re going forward to uncertainty.This weekend’s main event between Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes is an outstanding fight — a rematch of an ultra-close contest between the top two contenders in the division right now. But with Cejudo likely being ushered into a title shot on the basis of his recent destruction of Dillashaw at flyweight, what exactly are the two Brazilian contenders competing for this weekend?Being declared the No. 1 contender doesn’t really mean anything these days and usually comes down to a choice between an extended layoff or taking another fight in order to maintain your place in line.Saddling one of them with a loss is fine if it means the other goes forward to fight for the title, but if the result of securing a victory on Saturday in Fortaleza is a fight with another contender in the spring, that just isn’t good enough — not for the athletes and not for the fans who want to see these divisions continually moving forward and belts being defended against deserving challengers.And it trickles down from there.The upcoming bout between Jimmie Rivera and Aljamain Sterling takes on less significance and doesn’t move the victor as far forward as it should because they can only move so far ahead when things are stalled.How far everyone can climb becomes limited because you eventually run into the next guy in front of you who is dealing with the same delays and what ends up happening is exactly what transpired at middleweight, lightweight and featherweight — everyone ends up fighting each other and a pool of four or five potential contenders gets whittled down to one, two if you’re lucky.Even when that one fighter continues winning and captures gold, as was the case with both Whittaker and Max Holloway, they arrive at the top of the division having already faced and beaten many of the top contenders and are short on challengers because everyone else has been forced to keep active as well.Where it really stings, though, is with the up-and-coming set — the young fighters and promotional newcomers who have started making their way up the divisional ladder like Cory Sandhagen, Petr Yan and Alejandro Perez.The congestion at the top of the division caps how far they could climb or at the very least extends the road to contention. Rather than needing four, five or even six consecutive victories to enter the title picture or land a No. 1 contender bout, they often end up requiring one or two more in order to get there.In Holloway’s case, the reigning featherweight champion needed to win nine straight before getting an interim title shot and that only came as a result of 1) UFC 206 needing a title fight and 2) McGregor winning the lightweight title.“Blessed” had to rattle off 10 straight wins before fighting for the undisputed title, while lightweight contender Tony Ferguson is at 11 and counting with nothing, but a very brief interim title run to show for his efforts, although injuries have played a major factor in extending his road to the title as well.While none of those three bantamweights are on the cusp of contention just yet, Sandhagen and Yan are starting to get close, as the former has won three straight, all by stoppage, and the latter looks to extend his UFC winning streak to four with a matchup against John Dodson at the end of February in Prague.A win there should put the talented Russian in that group a win away from challenging for gold. But with the forecasted congestion on the horizon, that collective will largely remain unchanged, leaving no room for Yan to enter the mix.At best, he fights another member of the group, but then it’s another case of knocking off a potential contender when it’s not really necessary. Heading into this year, the UFC bantamweight division was poised to be the breakout weight class in the promotion — a deep collection of talented contenders, established veterans and emerging talents helmed by a reigning champion who had cemented himself as ruler with back-to-back emphatic knockout wins.But as the first month of 2019 comes to a close, the division is headed toward serious delays that have the potential to stifle the growth of the weight class and ravage a robust group of contenders and prospects.