Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images
Henry Cejudo was already the reigning flyweight champion when he jumped up to 135 pounds to capture the vacant crown, but then left both divisions high and dry after bowing out to address a shoulder injury, one severe enough to require surgery that rendered him combat ineffective until early 2020.
Now that he’s getting closer to being cleared for training, “Triple C” is looking forward to his first title defense, which is expected to be against Joseph Benavidez at 125 pounds (or else). Cejudo went down on points to the longtime contender back in late 2016 but what happens in the wake of their rematch is anyone’s guess.
“Eventually I do have to leave a belt,” Cejudo told ESPN. “It’s stressful having to hold up two weight divisions. I don’t want that stress on me. So I am gonna have to choose and both weight classes… 135 seems more appetizing to be quite honest with you. There’s just more color, you don’t have to cut as much weight, but there is a loss on my record against Joe and that stings a little bit.”
While that all sounds great, there’s no guarantee Cejudo will return at all and may end up vacating two belts instead of just one. That’s because Dana White and Co. may have sticker shock when they realize what the legendary Olympian expects to be paid upon his return.
“I’ve got two belts. I know what Daniel (Cormier) makes. I don’t want to get into it because it’s a conversation I’m gonna have to have with my boss and the organization,” Cejudo continued. “I’m a legend man, and I’ve got to start hitting those numbers like a legend. My legacy is written and it’s still being written. To say, at least, I want a number. I want a number and there’s options in there for me. Take a break from the sport…”
The last thing we need is another Conor McGregor situation. “Notorious” captured the lightweight crown at UFC 205 in late 2016 and it remained on ice until the promotion stripped him in early 2018, though I have a feeling Cejudo would not be afforded as much rope as the power-punching Irishman.