Henry Cejudo will likely be out-of-action for the rest of 2019.
“Triple C” captured the UFC bantamweight title by defeating Marlon Moraes earlier this month. With the win, he became the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously, while also being a former Olympic Gold medalist. While he sits out, the title picture at flyweight and bantamweight can develop.
One man who Cejudo could be returning to is former foe Joseph Benavidez. Benavidez will fight Jussier Formiga in the co-main event of UFC Minneapolis this weekend. The winner could very well face Cejudo for the title next. Cejudo and Benavidez are former opponents. The pair coached opposite one another on “The Ultimate Fighter Season 24” (TUF 24).
They fought at the TUF 24 Finale in December of 2016. Benavidez took home a controversial split decision over Cejudo, marking the second-ever defeat on the former Olympian’s mixed martial arts (MMA) record. Speaking to MMA Fighting, Benavidez said he believes he can get the job done against Cejudo again, but admits he’d be naive to believe Cejudo hasn’t improved since their first fight:
“I beat him and that’s how I’m always looking at him,” Benavidez said. “I’m better than him, I beat him, I pushed a pace on him and landed clean this clean that. I look at that so it’s motivating to see him do everything he can because that’s what I know of him.
“Obviously, he’s improved and his confidence has skyrocketed, and that’s a huge thing, so I’d be naive to think that he’s not different, that he hasn’t changed. But for me, he’s still the guy that I coached against in The Ultimate Fighter and my team beat his, and I beat him in the finale, and that’s how I look at him right now.
“He just happens to be doing some others things too, which is great and motivating within itself, but me personally, as a competitor, that’s how I look at him, as somebody I already beat, but knowing and not being naive to his improvements and everything he’s done.”
Do you think Benavidez should be Cejudo’s next challenger for the 125-pound title?