While his challenger TJ Dillashaw has slimmed down and gotten shredded, reigning champion Henry Cejudo has bulked up and has added more muscles for their flyweight title fight this January 19 at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York.
“The Messenger” will march on his first title-defense since snatching the 125-pound belt from Demetrious Johnson last August and will take on the current bantamweight kingpin in the main event of the inaugural UFC offering on ESPN.
Aware that a lot is a stake in this champ vs champ match-up, Cejudo is leaving no stones unturned in his preparation for this intriguing showdown with Dillashaw, who vowed to kill the flyweight division.
Upset of The Year
Henry Cejudo pulled off one of the biggest shockers in 2018 after overcoming the most dominant champion in UFC history, Demetrius Johnson, at UFC 227 last August. It was the second time these two fighters met, following a lopsided win by “Mighty Mouse” at UFC 197 in 2016.
Fighting as the underdog, the Olympic gold medalist did the improbable and defeated Johnson via split decision, with two judges scoring 48-47 in his favour while losing to the last judge in the same tally. Aside from snatching the UFC flyweight championship, Cejudo also snapped the former champion’s 11-straight successful title defenses.
“To defeat the man, the myth, the legend, Demetrious Johnson, it feels good. This is a dream come true, from Olympic gold medalist to UFC champion. I hate second place with a passion,” Cejudo said. “And losing to Demetrious Johnson the first time, in a devastating fashion, not only motivated me but put a chip on a shoulder.”
After scoring the biggest upset of 2018, the newly-crowned flyweight champion immediately challenged the winner of the headlining fight of the UFC 227 card, which was won by reigning champion TJ Dillashaw.
UFC debuts on EPSN+ this weekend with a champ-champ fight for the flyweight belt 🔥 Check out the main card now!
➡️ Henry Cejudo vs. T.J. Dillashaw
. ➡️ Greg Hardy vs. Allen Crowder
. ➡️ Gregor Gillespie vs. Yancy Medeiros
. ➡️ Joseph Benavi… https://t.co/2TIy1X3O0d pic.twitter.com/JNX5z6h7pA
— Susan Cingari MMA (@SusanCingari) January 13, 2019
Champ vs Champ
Following their successful stints at UFC 227, the Nevada-based promotion booked Cejudo and Dillashaw for a champ vs champ bout, which will headline the UFC on ESPN 1. The bantamweight champion will have a chance to become a double-champion as he will challenge “The Messenger” for the flyweight belt.
Meanwhile, Cejudo has a tall task in front of him. Since winning the belt, there has been a major shakeup in the 125-pound division. Johnson, who was considered as one of the greatest ever, was traded to ONE Championship for Ben Askren while the flyweight class itself has been rumoured to get wiped out this year.
Many believed that the outcome of the Cejudo vs Dillashaw fight could potentially determine the future of the flyweight class. Dillashaw said he was paid an insane amount of money to kill the 125-lb division but a win by the Olympic champion could salvage it from the brink of extinction.
It is a tall order but Cejudo looks like he is up to the challenge. In fact, he has added more muscles and has bulked up as he prepares for his title defense. A week before the fight, the 31-year old American uploaded a photo of his absolutely ripped physique for the UFC Brooklyn main event. See it below:
Can Henry Cejudo save the flyweight class? The future lies on him, and a loss to TJ Dillashaw could be the final nail in the coffin for the flyweight case.
(Featured Image Source: Instagram)