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Dana White Explains Why Henry Cejudo Needs to Defend 125 Crown Next

Henry Cejudo has been campaigning for a fight with an all-star bantamweight next, but it seems clear the UFC has other ideas.

Henry Cejudo hasn’t sounded too keen on fighting at 125 in his next outing. But, Dana White’s outlined why the UFC wants the champ-champ to defend the flyweight title next. Not only that, White’s reporting that if Cejudo doesn’t, he’ll be a ‘Triple C’ no more…

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Cejudo has been driving for a big name at 135

After Cejudo took out Marlon Moraes in June to secure the bantamweight title, he called out 135 stars like Urijah Faber, Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt. Since then, Frankie Edgar has announced he’s moving to bantamweight and Jose Aldo has also expressed an interest in moving down to face Cejudo. The Olympic Gold Medal wrestler has said he’d be down to face either of those legends.

White’s recent comments

Well, following the latest Dana White Contender Series event, White was asked about Cejudo and the 135 division, and the UFC President said this (quotes via MMA Junkie):

“Right now, we have some things playing out at 135 pounds,” White said. “What we’d like to see Cejudo do is defend his title against Benavidez.

“Benavidez is ready. It’s the right thing to do. If he can’t, then he needs to give up one of the belts.”

“We’re playing some things out to see who’s going to be the next challenger at ’35,” White said. “Benavidez is ready to go. He deserves it, and he’s got a win over Cejudo.”

Now, if you care about the flyweight division and like your MMA with a healthy dose of meritocracy, this should be welcome news. By the time Cejudo’s ready to fight again (he’s coming off shoulder surgery), it will be approximately a year since he defended the flyweight title (a stoppage win over T.J. Dillashaw). So, when you consider how often the UFC has been putting up interim titles in the last few years, the 125 title needs to be defended.

Further, White is right: Benavidez does deserve it. The rugged vet has won three in a row and in June, he took out top contender Jussier “Formiga”. Not only that, but Benavidez defeated Cejudo back in 2016 via split decision, as White alluded to. He’s one of just two men, the other being Demetrious Johnson, who has defeated “The Messenger”.

The big question is, however, will Cejudo agree? Or will he vacate the flyweight title? The 32-year-old star has repeatedly talked about the fact he doesn’t like making the cut to 125, and that’s in addition to his drive for a big fight at 135. Finally, if Cejudo does drop the flyweight belt, will the UFC continue to promote the division?

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