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Hot Tweets: Henry Cejudo’s gimmick and who would win a UFC hotdog eating contest

Henry Cejudo Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

After last week where I went off for 500 words about how Royce Gracie was the Princeton football of MMA, the floodgates of the wacky and wild MMA questions have been opened, and I for one could not be happier. So let’s talk about some weird things and I guess some actual fight stuff too.

Superhero schtick

ICYMI, Henry Cejudo has fully embraced his weirdo side, going so far as to mix up his various gimmicks in a majorly face-palming way at the media day staredowns. IT’S TRUE! And of course, Colby Covington has been living a gimmick for years now.

First off, I’d like to be clear that while both Cejudo and Covington have gone all in on pro-wrestling style gimmicks in the most cheeseball way, the two are not the same. Cejudo’s gimmick has a touch of tongue-in-cheek self deprecation to it and is entirely harmless; Covington’s gimmick has gotten better over time but still crosses over into mean-spirited bigotry at points. But I can see why you would lump the two in together, because though both of them are playing to a character, you also get the feeling that there is an essence of truth to both men’s gimmicks. Like they’ve both decided to turn the dial on some fundamental part of their identity up to 11.

So with that being said, I think it’s pretty obvious that Colby Covington is William Stryker. He doesn’t have any super powers but he says a bunch of offensive stuff and gets a small collection of people to really buy into what he’s selling.

Cejudo is a little trickier but I think I’ve settled on Penquin. He’s diminutive in size and is constantly carrying around a has a hallmark accessory (gold medal/umbrella) that he definitely references too much. Also, thinking back to Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, really Cejudo just wants to be loved but he’s not really able to pull it off because he’s kind of a total weirdo.

Cejudo and the flyweight division

ICYMI, Henry Cejudo is challenging for his second UFC title against Marlon Moraes on Saturday. IT’S TRUE!

I think the outcome of UFC 238’s main event will have a substantial effect on the future of the flyweight division. At this point it is the worst kept secret in the world that the 125 pound division in on its way out of the UFC. Hell just look at the UFC rankings page. There are only 13 fighters listed! But how fast it exits feels like it will be directly related to whether Cejudo picks up a second belt or not.

Cejudo has said the same thing many have said before: that he want to defend both titles. If he wins, it feels like the UFC may let him do that once as a promotional tool but then just fold the flyweight division into the 125 division since they two would have the same champion. If Cejudo loses on Saturday though, the flyweights may be safe for a little longer. The UFC certainly seems to believe Cejudo has some level of star power and having an Olympic gold medalist to build around is probably enough incentive to keep 125 lingering around for another year or two before folding up shop.

Marlon Moraes

They can’t. Not for Marlon Moraes. There are certainly better formulas for star creation than the UFC’s one-size-fits-all method of promotion but Moraes is just not that marketable of a personality. He’s a dynamite fighter, one of the most dynamic finishers in the sport, but he is never going to catch on in a broad way unless he goes on an unprecedented reign of terror for the next five years. And that’s okay. Not every fighter needs to be a bombastic personality and not every champion needs to be a star. I think we as fans sometimes forget that fighting is still a very niche sport and that most fighters have a pretty low ceiling as to where they can rise in the eyes of public perception. It’s okay to just be really good at your job and appreciated by the smaller segment of people who understand all that.

Jon Jones

Quite the opposite, in fact. Jones’ legacy is currently only marred by his unparalleled ability to shoot himself in the foot. As a result of his peerless level of malfeasance, the only big fighting knock you can make about him is that in retrospect his wins have lost some shine. His rise coincided with the tail end of the golden age of light heavyweights so he got to beat a ton of Hall of Famers, all of whom were past their primes. Now, Jon is rattling off title defenses against the top contenders in his division. That’s always beneficial for his legacy.

I’ve said it many times before, consistently defending a title is significantly harder than winning multiple belts. And the rash of new champ-champs has arisen in the past year only backs up that statement. In 15 years, Demetrious Johnson’s title reign is going to look incredible and Jon is well on his way to having a second one of those, which is truly remarkable.

Plus, Jon has plenty of time left to fight big names. All the biggest names left for him to fight are at heavyweight and Jon won’t age out of that division for a decade.

Alexander Gustafsson’s retirement

ICYMI, Alexander Gustafsson retired last weekend after getting submitted by Anthony Smith at UFC Stockholm.

Not a chance in hell. Gustafsson may well come back - this is MMA after all - but if he does I don’t know how he would ever make middleweight. Gus should’ve actually gone the other way. I never understood taking the Smith fight as there was no clear path to a title shot for him. Instead, Gus should’ve moved up to heavyweight to chase a rematch with Cormier. He certainly has the frame to be competitive in the weight class and he’s more skilled than most of the top guys there already.


You know how its 2019 and we still hear rumors about the possible return of Gina Carano despite the fact that she hasn’t compete in MMA in almost a decade? It will be like that. Times a billion.

What non-UFC fighter needs to be brought over?

So for the first part of this question I think there are only three answers I can see an argument for and all three currently fight for Bellator.

  1. Douglas Lima. I think there is a legitimate case to be made that Douglas Lima is the best welterweight in the world or very, very close to it. Once he avenges his “loss” to Rory MacDonald and claims the Bellator title again, there is no one I would rather see cross over to test himself against the best in the UFC.
  2. Patricio Freire. He just became Bellator’s first ever champ-champ and there are sooooo many interesting fights for him at 155, 145, and even 135. Pitbull vs. Aldo is a superfight par excellence or something like a fight with Moraes would be incredible as well. The only reason he doesn’t claim my top spot is that, despite Pitbull being a top-5 featherweight, I don’t actually think he could win a title in the UFC.
  3. Ryan Bader. Finishing in third is a man who used to fight in the UFC and now is a two-division champion in Bellator, its first ever. I’d love for Bader to come back to the UFC in part because a champ-champ vs. champ-champ superfight with Daniel Cormier would be incredible promotion. Plus, once Bader is done getting beaten up there, he would be a much needed addition to the currently moribund light heavyweight division.

Oh, and my favorite fight of the year is obviously Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum. That is my second or third favorite fight of all time and if it doesn’t win Fight of the Year this year I would be completely flummoxed.

The sports of kings

Oh my god. I have so many questions. Are these open contests or are there entry requirements like in the real deal? Are we doing weight classes? What about age classes? All of these would play a role in my decision.

So for the sake of argument, let’s assume the spelling bee has no entry rules, open to all UFC fighters. Same for the hotdog eating contest - no weight classes. In that case, hot dog eating contest, no question.

The spelling bee would mostly be uncomfortable to watch because we are currently used to watching quiet kids strive desperately to not disappoint their parents by spelling words like “neutercane” in front of huge crowds. If we substituted UFC fighters in there, it would probably be funny for a minute and then get old when we’re on hour two of asking the language of origin.

Meanwhile, the hotdog eating contest is a neat and tidy 30 minutes, no matter what happens. 10 minutes of actual dog eating and 20 minutes of pomp and circumstance. Plus have you ever watch the Nathan’s hotdog eating championship? It’s captivating! Those guys totally get promotion! I would be 100 percent in on watching Kevin Lee in some new ostentatious outfit going dog for dog with Max Holloway in his Blessed bandana and Daniel Cormier in sweatpants with a T-shirt tucked into them. I would pay at least $20 to watch that. Plus, the UFC would finally have something to do with all those hotdog branders they used to make!

Oh, and I think we can all agree that Derrick Lewis is the baddest dude at the barbecue and would come away with the mustard belt, but Kelvin Gastelum might give him a run for his money early on.

Thanks for reading this week and thank you for everyone who sent in Tweets! Do you have any burning questions about at least tacitly related to combat sports? Then you’re in luck because you can send your Hot Tweets to me, @JedKMeshew and I will answer them! Doesn’t matter if they’re topical or insane. Get weird with it. Let’s have fun.

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