January 19, 2019

UFC on ESPN+ 1: TJ Dillashaw Looks To Join Elusive Double Champion Club At UFC Brooklyn

By Adam Martin

When the UFC announced it had traded Demetrious Johnson to ONE Championship for Ben Askren, the immediate question was what the promotion was going to do with the flyweight division. Henry Cejudo had upset Johnson at UFC 227, the UFC started cutting flyweights left and right, and the promotion decided to move on from one of the best fighters in the world in Johnson. The signs all pointed to the flyweight division being no more, but the UFC threw a wrench in that narrative when it decided to book Cejudo against TJ Dillashaw as the main event of UFC 233.

After dominating the bantamweight division over the last couple of years, the UFC decided to give Dillashaw the chance to move down to flyweight and take on Cejudo for his belt. The promotion had been trying to make Dillashaw-Johnson, but that fight couldn't quite come together, but this one did for UFC on ESPN+ 1, after being shifted over from the ill-fated UFC 233 event. UFC on ESPN+ 1 airs live tonight at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with the co-main event featuring former NFL star Greg Hardy facing Allen Crowder. But Dillashaw vs. Cejudo is a potentially history-making fight. The chance to compete for a second belt in the UFC was an opportunity that Dillashaw wanted, and now he has the chance to join an elusive club of double champions.

After Conor McGregor accomplished the feat in 2016 and Daniel Cormier and Amanda Nunes joined the club in 2018, Dillashaw looks to do the same thing tonight. At one point in time it was rare to see a fighter to hold two belts in the UFC, but nowadays it's become more common, as the UFC has given several fighters the chance to compete for a belt in a second weight class. But in all the other cases, the fighter moved up in weight and won. With Dillashaw, he's moving down in weight, and is looking to become the first ever double UFC champion moving down a weight class.

Although Dillashaw is favored to win the fight against Cejudo at the sportsbooks, you can't count the former Olympic wrestler out. Cejudo just beat DJ, and that shows how good he is. Dillashaw might have knocked out Cody Garbrandt twice at bantamweight, but Cejudo presents the wrestling skills necessary to have a chance to beat Dillashaw the same way Dominick Cruz did. Because on the feet, there's no question Dillashaw is going to have a massive advantage over Cejudo. However, if Cejudo can get the takedown, well we're going to have ourselves one heck of an intriguing battle.

The UFC chose a good main event for its debut on ESPN+ 1. The Dillashaw vs. Cejudo fight could be history-making and it's a nice showcase for two of the UFC's most underappreciated champions. It might not be a sexy heavyweight title fight like FOX got between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos back in 2011, but it's still a very intriguing matchup between the best bantamweight and flyweight on the planet. It might not be a true superfight, but it's still a very good fight and it's a fight that could determine the fate of the flyweight division. Now let's see if Dillashaw can do what he says he will do and kill the division, or if Cejudo can save the day for the flyweights.

UFC on ESPN+ 1
Henry Cejudo vs. TJ Dillashaw (UFC Men's Flyweight Championship)

UFC on ESPN+ 1: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw takes place January 19, 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Click HERE for more UFC on ESPN+ 1 Pre-Fight Analysis

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