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Henry Cejudo relinquishes UFC flyweight belt, Joseph Benavidez vs. Deiveson Figueiredo set for vacant title

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Henry Cejudo wants to reclaim his bantamweight title Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Henry Cejudo has relinquished his flyweight title and the UFC plans to promote a fight between top contenders Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo in a bout for the vacant belt at UFC Norfolk.

MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin confirmed the news with multiple people with knowledge of the news after an initial report by BJPenn.com. Cejudo will retain the bantamweight belt he won in June by stopping Marlon Moraes at UFC 238.

The news comes one week after Cejudo said he would walk away from the sport if he didn’t receive the paycheck he sought for his next contract. It also removes a longstanding roadblock to Benavidez, who was promised the next shot at the UFC flyweight title after defeating top contender Jussier Formiga at UFC on ESPN 3.

UFC Norfolk takes place Feb. 29 at Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Va., and streams on ESPN+.

In multiple interviews, Benavidez, who’s won his past three UFC bouts, called for Cejudo to stop holding up the flyweight division. After winning his second belt, the champ-champ entertained fights with a variety of opponents other than Benavidez, the last person to defeat him, and drew headlines with callouts of Urijah Faber and Valentina Shevchenko.

Following this past Saturday’s UFC 245, promotion president Dana White said Cejudo had called to fight Jose Aldo, who was narrowly outpointed by Moraes at the pay-per-view event.

Figueiredo now steps into a No. 1 contender spot on a two-fight winning streak - his most recent defeat came against Formiga.

Cejudo first captured the flyweight belt with an upset of long-running flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227.