MMA Ratings Podcast

June 11, 2019

UFC 238: Henry Cejudo Still Has Work To Do At Flyweight and Bantamweight

By Raphael Garcia

Henry Cejudo picked up a big win this weekend at UFC 238 when he stopped Marlon Moraes in the second round of their main event contest, securing the UFC Bantamweight Championship and becoming the newest name among the list of "champ-champs" within the promotion's ranks. But while that moment was special in its own right, it didn't place him at the top of the pound-for-pound list, as he proclaimed in his post-fight comments. In fact, looking at the landscape around him, Cejudo has a lot left on his plate if he’s going to sit at the head of one of the most lauded tables in mixed martial arts.

Let’s talk about what Cejudo achieved on Saturday. He stopped the hype that was building behind Moraes as he tore through the bantamweight division. And securing this second title now firmly establishes him as one the biggest stars in the sport today. That allows Cejudo to demand more of his employer, but even that doesn’t mean he will get everything that he’s asking for.

Cejudo called out three names when the microphone was put in front of him; Dominick Cruz, Cody Garbrandt, and Urijah Faber. He then made a point to let everyone know that he has his eyes on the featherweight division and its current champion, Max Holloway. Those are some interesting callouts that will surely irk top contenders in both the bantamweight and flyweight divisions.

Firstly, those three names are outside of the title picture and should not be part of any such discussion. Cruz has not won a fight in three years. Faber is coming out of retirement after three years away from the sport and shouldn’t be considered a title contender in any sense, as he’s lost in all four of his shots at the bantamweight title. Then there is Garbrandt, who has lost three straight fights. Of all the men Cejudo could have called out at 135 pounds, this isn’t the cream of the crop. Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan, Cory Sandhagen, and others will have some thoughts about having to wait for an extended period while Cejudo attempts to get “money” fights and jump to another weight class.

But what about flyweight? Jussier “Formiga” da Silva and Joseph Benavidez are scheduled to square off at UFC Minneapolis later this month. This is a questionable matchup, as Benavidez has already defeated Formiga and has a win over Cejudo. But instead of booking the rematch with Cejudo that would have given Benavidez a title shot, the UFC went in another direction, as Cejudo hasn’t shown any interest in defending that belt. The weight cut down to 125 pounds may be a concern, but if Cejudo is the champion and star that he claims to be, he should be able to pull eyeballs to a division that has historically struggled to garner attention, and has been on the chopping block since even before Cejudo defeated Demetrious Johnson for the title last August. But unfortunately, it seems like Cejudo is going to do almost as much damage to that division as the UFC has in recent years.

Henry Cejudo pulled off a massive feat on Saturday when he walked out of UFC 238 with the bantamweight title belt. But as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility, and if Cejudo wants the power to call the shots as a double champion, he needs to recognize the responsibilities that come with holding both belts. That's what being the pound-for-pound best is all about.

UFC 238
Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes (UFC Bantamweight Championship): Henry Cejudo def. Marlon Moraes via TKO (strikes) at 4:51 of Round 3.

UFC 238: Cejudo vs. Moraes took place June 8, 2019 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Click HERE for more UFC 238 Post-Fight Analysis

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