It appears that Henry Cejudo will indeed get the next shot at the UFC bantamweight title.
The UFC’s bantamweight division has been in a state of flux since T.J. Dillashaw vacated his belt due to a failed USADA drug test. With former WSOF king Marlon Moraes seemingly locked into a No. 1 contender spot, the trio of Cejudo, Pedro Munhoz, and Aljamain Sterling have all campaigned heavily for a chance to oppose Moraes for the vacant 135-pound strap.
And following a win by top-ranked flyweight contender Jussier Formiga over Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC Nashville, UFC president Dana White appears to have the next steps for the flyweight and bantamweight divisions figured out.
“I now have a plan. I didn’t have a plan before, but I now have a plan,” White said Saturday night on the ESPN+ post-fight show. “It looks like we’re going to do the Moraes-Cejudo fight. They both want that fight really bad, seems like a good fight to make with the whole Dillashaw thing now. And then you do him (Formiga) versus (Joseph) Benavidez on the same card. Anything goes wrong, one of them can step up and take the fight, and then the winner of that fight is the guaranteed No. 1 contender for the next shot.”
Benavidez and Formiga have been the odd men out at flyweight since the UFC opted to allow Dillashaw to move down in weight and challenge Cejudo at UFC Brooklyn.
Benavidez owns a prior win over Cejudo and is 8-1 over his last nine fights, with his only loss over that stretch coming in a split decision to Sergio Pettis. Formiga, likewise, has won four consecutive fights culminating in his UFC Nashville victory over Figueiredo.
Cejudo has been in the conversation at 135 pounds since knocking out Dillashaw in just 32 seconds at UFC Brooklyn, while Moraes is a perfect 4-0 since his unsuccessful Octagon debut. The last three of those victories for Moraes — against Sterling, Jimmie Rivera, and Raphael Assuncao — have all come via first-round stoppage.