UFC wants Henry Cejudo vs. Joseph Benavidez, or it's no more 'Triple C'

LAS VEGAS – If Henry Cejudo wants to keep his “Triple C” persona moving forward, he better start thinking about a cut down to 125 pounds.

The UFC bantamweight and flyweight champion is currently on the mend following a June surgery to repair his shoulder, but when Cejudo (15-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) is ready to compete again, UFC president Dana White said the promotion is expecting it to be a flyweight title fight against current top contender Joseph Benavidez (28-5 MMA, 15-3 UFC).

And if Cejudo isn’t willing, White said the former Olympic gold medalist may have to settle for just being “Double C.”

“Right now, we have some things playing out at 135 pounds,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie, following Tuesday’s Dana White’s Contender Series 25 event. “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.”

Cejudo has mentioned a potential January return to action, though he certainly hasn’t committed to anything specific while working through his recovery. White said he wasn’t exactly sure when Cejudo would be medically cleared to compete but believes a January return is an acceptable timeline if Cejudo does want to face Benavidez and look to keep both of his UFC belts.

For his part, Benavidez fought most recently in June, picking up a decision win over Jussier Formiga and suggesting he’d be just fine waiting for Cejudo with no other clearcut title challengers in the flyweight division.

It’s a matchup made especially interesting by the history between the two: Benavidez was the last man to beat Cejudo, taking home a split-decision result in December 2016 after the pair served as opposing coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter 24.”

Meanwhile, the bantamweight title picture is a little less cut and dried.

Aljamain Sterling has a strong case for being in the No. 1 contender position, but Petr Yan believes he’s equally deserving. Meanwhile, youngster Cory Sandhagen is making rapid moves up the list, and MMA legend Frankie Edgar is finally dropping to 135 pounds following years of speculation, and his career work certainly allows him occasional liberties in matchups.

With all those hands in the air, White believes Cejudo’s return needs to be at flyweight, giving the bantamweight contenders time to find a little clarity.

“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.”

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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