Henry Cejudo could become just the fourth fighter this Saturday to hold two UFC titles at once. If that happens, the decorated wrestler says he’ll be the top pound-for-pound fighter in the game. Does “The Messenger” have a point?
Cejudo will face Marlon Moraes at UFC 238 for the now vacant, bantamweight title. The bout will mark the first time the flyweight champ has fought, since he faced T.J. Dillashaw in January, and quickly took out the now former champion. Following the bout, it was revealed Dillashaw had tested positive for EPO, and the fighter was suspended for two years.
Well, while speaking with the media recently, Cejudo had this to say about what’s riding on the line at UFC 238 (quotes via BJ Penn.com):
“First and foremost guys. You guys are acting a little shy. I would like to start off by, I’ve been called some nasty things in my life and I’m sick of it. I’ve been called a gold digger, I’ve been called a son of a gold, I’ve been called an Olympic champion, UFC champion, Hall of Famer, author, dreamcatcher, dream snatcher, G.O.A.T. killer, the king of cringe, greatest combat athlete of all-time. But, never have I been called the ‘P’ word and I’m sick of it,” Cejudo said. “On June 8 that’s all going to change. I will be the next pound-for-pound king. You can tell Daniel Cormier, you can tell Jon Jones, you can tell Khabib Nurmagomedov there is a new sheriff in town. His name is Henry Cejudo and guess what Dana White if you are watching, he happens to be a flyweight.”
How about that? It’s certainly a claim worth considering, and your personal view might depend on what constitutes the pound-for-pound best.
If you assign a lot of value to fighters who have competed in different weight classes and succeeded, then clearly a win on Saturday will mean a lot in this respect. Cormier, who is currently ranked #1 in the UFC’s P4P bracket, vacated the light-heavyweight title. As you surely know, the heavyweight champ has been defeated by Jon Jones, who is ranked #2.. Lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has never been defeated, is sitting in the #3 position, one ahead of Cejudo. Featherweight champ Max Holloway, who dropped a decision loss to now interim lightweight champ Dustin Poirer last month, is #5. Amanda Nunes, who holds both the 135 and 145 titles is ranked #6
But, will a win catapult Cejudo into the #1, P4P position? If Cejudo goes out and storms through Moraes, like he did against Dillashaw, then it’s possible. After all, it should be noted that Cejudo holds a win over Demetrious Johnson, who has long been regarded as one of the best fighters ever. Cejudo and his boosters would also cite the fact he’s an Olympic Gold Medalist wrestler.
But, at the end of the day, Cejudo will likely need to win the 135 title and then defend that belt, before he removes Cormier from the top spot. “DC” has won and defended both the 205 and heavyweight titles, and that puts him in uncharted territory.