Joseph Benavidez Believes Henry Cejudo Never Planned to Defend Flyweight Title Again
Henry Cejudo has been tirelessly promoting himself with the 'Triple C' bit since he became the UFC's latest champ-champ. But, Joseph Benavidez doesn't think the decorated wrestler ever really planned to defend the 125 crown again.
After months of speculation as to what would come next for the UFC’s flyweight belt, recently it was announced that Henry Cejudo is relinquishing the title, and that Deiveson Figueiredo is going to face Joseph Benavidez for the vacant belt. But, it sounds like the latter believes all that waiting was for nothing, as he doesn’t think Cejudo intended to defend the 125 championship again.
Benavidez comments on Cejudo vacating the belt
Cejudo won the flyweight title initially in August, 2018, by ending the storied reign of Demetrious Johnson via split decision. Then in January, 2019, amidst rampant speculation that the UFC might axe the flyweight division, Cejudo defended the belt by quickly putting away T.J. Dillashaw.
But, after Cejudo also won the bantamweight title last June by stopping Marlon Moraes, he called for bouts with big name bantamweights like Dominick Cruz, Urijah Faber and Cody Garbrandt. More recently, Cejudo has been pushing for a scrap with Jose Aldo.
Well, now it’s been confirmed that Cejudo is dropping the flyweight title, and that Benavidez will battle Figueiredo for the belt, Februuary 29th. While talking to MMA Fighting recently, Benavidez said this, when asked whether he believes Cejudo planned to defend that title again.
“I don’t think he ever did,” Benavidez said. “I think we could have got him down for a crazy amount of money but that’s not the fight to make for a ton of money and you have to earn that, too, from his perspective.
“So I don’t really think he ever did [intend on coming back to flyweight]. For one, he would never say it publicly but also anyone that I knew personally that talked to him said ‘honestly, he’s not interested in going down again.’ I honestly never think he wanted to do it.”
“It’s fine with me,” Benavidez said. “I already hold the win over him. It’s up to him to come and avenge it. Just give up the belt without a fight. Move onto the next one.”
Ya. Benavidez could be on target here. After Cejudo won the 135 title he rarely talked about defending the flyweight title, and as noted, he repeatedly called out bantamweights. He also wasn’t shy about the fact that he doesn’t like making the cut to 125. So, it could very well be that he only would have done so if the UFC offered him considerably more money to do so.
All that said, at least now the division can move forward and Benavidez is getting the title fight he absolutely deserves. Not only does he hold a win over Cejudo, the only fighters to defeat him to date are the aforementioned Johnson, Sergio Pettis and former bantamweight king, Dominick Cruz.
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UFC Norfolk line-up
Here is the complete line-up so far for UFC Norfolk.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
Megan Anderson vs. Norma Dumont
Felicia Spencer vs. Zarah Fairn
Brendan Allen vs. Tom Breese
Mickey Gall vs. Alex Oliveira
Gabriel Silva vs. Kyler Phillips