UFC dual-division champion Henry Cejudo may have saved the flyweight division, but the 125-pound weight class is going to move on without him steering the ship.
Currently holding the flyweight and bantamweight championships, Cejudo is going to be stripped of the flyweight belt. The vacant slot won't be open for long, as UFC officials are moving to have Joseph Benavidez fight Deiveson Figueiredo to crown a new champion. MMAWeekly.com confirmed the news with sources following an initial report by BJPenn.com.
Benavidez and Figueiredo will fight at UFC on ESPN+ 27 on Feb. 29 in Norfolk, Va.
Cejudo has been sidelined since claiming the then-vacant bantamweight belt in a fight with Marlon Moraes in June. Cejudo had shoulder surgery following that fight and the rehab has kept him out of the Octagon ever since.
The flyweight division was being dismantled when Cejudo took the belt from Demetrious Johnson, who has since left to fight for ONE Championship. Breaking Johnson's stranglehold on the division has opened it up for new match-ups, including longtime top contender Benavidez being granted this opportunity to fight Figueiredo so that one of them might become the new titleholder.
Shortly after news of Cejudo being stripped broke, he told MMAJunkie that he was not being stripped, but that he was relinquishing the belt.
“No, I am not being stripped. I am relinquishing my title. Correction! 'Triple C' is relinquishing his title to these wannabe, so-called flyweight kingpins. That’s what’s going on. I’m relinquishing my belt. Being stripped is not what I’m doing. I’m relinquishing, and you can tell them all to bend the knee.”
(Photo courtesy of UFC)