Don’t shut the door on the flyweight division just yet, it seems.
A long-discussed flyweight vs. bantamweight superfight will take place at the UFC’s return to Southern California in January, as first reported by ESPN.
Despite lingering evidence that the UFC’s 125-pound division will soon be no more, bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw (16-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) will move down to face flyweight champ Henry Cejudo (13-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) in the UFC 233 headliner, persons with knowledge of the fight confirmed with MMAjunkie. The persons requested anonymity because the fight has not yet been formally announced by the UFC.
UFC 233 takes place Jan. 26 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The main card will air on pay-per-view following prelims likely for ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass.
Cejudo is a Los Angeles native. Dillashaw is from farther north in California, but now trains out of Southern California, making it a home fight for both champions.
Dillashaw is No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings. Cejudo is No. 1 at flyweight. Dillashaw is the No. 8 pound-for-pound fighter in the world on that list, and Cejudo is not far behind at No. 11.
Discussions of a fight between the two champions started in August when each won title fights at UFC 227 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Dillashaw defended his bantamweight belt in a rematch with Cody Garbrandt in the main event. He stopped the former champ with a first-round TKO. And Cejudo won a split decision against long-reigning flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson in the co-feature to win the belt in an upset. That fight was a rematch, as well.
But now that Johnson has left the UFC for ONE Championship, the prospect of a rematch between him and Cejudo is out the window completely if it ever was on the table to begin with. That opens the door for Dillashaw to move down to become the latest to attempt to hold two UFC titles simultaneously.
Currently, Daniel Cormier is the UFC’s heavyweight and light heavyweight champion – though the 205-pound title will be stripped from him when Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson fight for the belt in the UFC 232 main event. Previously, Conor McGregor was a simultaneous featherweight and lightweight champion. He eventually was stripped of both titles for failing to defend them.
What this means for the future of the flyweight division remains unclear. However, Cejudo’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, suggested if his client is victorious, further fights at 125 pounds await (via Twitter):
The latest UFC 233 lineup now includes:
Henry Cejudo vs. T.J. Dillashaw – for flyweight title
Ben Askren vs. Robbie Lawler
Islam Makhachev vs. Francisco Trinaldo
Paul Felder vs. James Vick
Yana Kunitskaya vs. Marion Reneau
Joanne Calderwood vs. Ariane Lipski
For more on UFC 233, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
- Twitter, outraged UFC fighters react to looming dissolution of flyweight division
- 'Gold digger' Daniel Cormier shows off impressive UFC belt collection
- Twitter Mailbag: Farewell to the UFC flyweights?
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: T.J. Dillashaw moving down to face flyweight champ Henry Cejudo at UFC 233