Henry Cejudo Plans To 'Make Flyweight Great Again' vs. TJ Dillashaw

Henry Cejudo Plans To 'Make Flyweight Great Again' vs. TJ Dillashaw

UFC flyweight champion Henry Cejudo discusses his lofty plans with FloCombat's Damon Martin ahead of his UFC on ESPN+ bout vs. TJ Dillashaw.

Jan 15, 2019 by Damon Martin
Henry Cejudo Plans To 'Make Flyweight Great Again' vs. TJ Dillashaw

Henry Cejudo knows exactly what’s on the line in his UFC on ESPN+ fight against bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw Jan. 19 in Brooklyn. 

The reigning flyweight king puts his title up for grabs with Dillashaw moving down to 125 pounds for the chance to become a two-division champion. More important to Cejudo is the fact that Dillashaw said point blank he’s being sent down to flyweight by the UFC to win the title and effectively kill the division.

Rumors have been flying for months that the UFC plans on eliminating the 125-pound men’s division, especially after several notable fighters were released from their contracts.

Cejudo believes the UFC absolutely wants to ditch the flyweight division but he hopes to single-handedly rescue the weight class by taking out the paid assassin this weekend.

“I’m here fighting for the fighters, for all the little guys, all the guys that have kids, have families, that still have hopes of becoming a world champ,” Cejudo told FloCombat. “It’s not just for me. It’s for all the flyweights, all their families, all their kids, I’m trying to employ people here.

“I believe the UFC is sending down TJ Dillashaw, they are sending down the hitman to try and take out ‘The Messenger’ but there’s a reason why Henry Cejudo’s nickname is ‘The Messenger.' I couldn’t ask for a better fairytale. I couldn’t ask for a better storyline.”

Since its inception, the flyweight division has struggled to gain ground with fans even with Demetrious Johnson — arguably one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport — at the top of the weight class as champion.

Add to that, Johnson was the longest reigning champion in UFC history, but fans just didn’t flock to see him compete no matter who he was facing.

Cejudo then defeated Johnson last August to end his historic reign over the division and now he truly believes he can become a beacon to help shine a light on the 125-pound division that’s never been seen before.

In fact, Cejudo feels like the problem has really been a promotional issue with the weight class, but he hopes to change all that, starting with a win over Dillashaw while simultaneously giving the UFC a new face to represent the flyweight division.

“It’s beautiful. I see it as a great opportunity,” Cejudo said. “I don’t think it’s a flyweight issue, I think it’s a promotional issue. I mean, for crying out loud, I’m probably one of the more sophisticated fighters in the UFC. I speak three different languages. I speak English, Spanish, Portuguese fluent. I’m an author of two books that are out internationally, I’ve worked with the President [Barack Obama] and Michelle Obama firsthand. I’ve been invited to the White House. I’m an Olympic gold medalist.

“It took one man in boxing — Oscar De La Hoya — that changed the whole sport. He kept the sport alive. Oscar De La Hoya did that. I could do the same thing for the sport of mixed martial arts.”

When rumors of this fight first started, many believed it would be Cejudo moving up to challenge for the bantamweight title as a sign that the flyweight division was already doomed.

Instead, Dillashaw is moving down in weight for the opportunity to become a two-division champion but if he wins, the result may still be the same with the 125-pound weight class being eradicated.

Cejudo takes that as a personal challenge to save the division while simultaneously proving that he is the best 125-pound fighter on the planet and somebody the UFC should be proud to promote going forward.

“I am going to resurrect the flyweight division,” Cejudo said. “I’m going to be looking through those snake eyes and I’m going to let him know he’s messing with ‘The Messenger.' He’s messing with something much bigger than the fight. He’s messing with the flyweight division.

“We are going to make the flyweight division great again.”