Today brings with it some interesting news from the UFC flyweight division as champion Henry Cejudo is stripped of the title.
Cejudo, who, of course, won the belt in a razor-close five-round showdown against Demetrious Johnson, defended his title in January – knocking out the then-bantamweight king TJ Dillashaw in under a minute.
And while Cejudo’s status as a dual-weight world champion allowed him to maintain his grip on the flyweight belt while also holding the 135lb strap, for a while now, it really did appear as though his focus had shifted to the big money matchups at bantamweight.
ESPN confirmed the reports made by BJPenn.com on Friday and furthermore, made it known that the UFC will be setting up a contest between 125lb contenders Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueredo for the now-vacant title.
It may seem like something of an anti-climactic end to the reign of the man who calls him ‘Triple C’ but in many ways, the very fact that the UFC are looking to fill his boots at 125lbs is something that will bolster many people’s faith in their vision for the weight-class.
As we all know, flyweight was left in something of an uncertain state as the dominant run of its longtime champion Demetrious Johnson began winding down.
Now, with the wheel very much starting to turn at flyweight once again, two of the finest athletes in the weight-class will get their opportunity to begin what should be a new era for the division.
The UFC made several high-profile cuts from the division just prior to Cejudo’s emergence as the star he is today – a move that earned them some lofty criticism from those fans and fighters within the sport who have ties to the weight-class.
With Benavidez and Figueredo now set to fight it out for the belt, I think it’s safe to say that the 125lb-r’s will be sticking around for at least a while longer.
Joseph Benavidez has been one of the finest fighters in the lower weights for almost a decade now, losing out to only Demetrious Johnson, Dominick Cruz and most recently, Sergio Pettis.
And while he would have no doubt relished the opportunity to run it back with Cejudo – a man he beat out by way of close decision back in 2016, in Figueredo, he will no doubt be coming up against the second-best flyweight in the division.
The Brazilian, who holds a 6-1 record within the UFC, is one of the sharpest 125lb finishers in the sport – one who has been seen by many as a fighter who has all of the skills necessary to capture a UFC belt before all is said and done in his career.
Whether he will be able to get past the threat posed to him by the veteran Benavidez is anyone’s guess but if the reports are to be believed, it looks as though the UFC will set the bout up for UFC Norfolk in February.