UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson is seven title defenses into his reign over the 125-pound division, but there's a figure -- an exterminator -- that lurks in the distance. His name is Henry "The Messenger" Cejudo.
If "Mighty Mouse" doesn't want to be rendered titleless by the Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling, then he will need to be on his toes when the pair do the Octagon tango in the co-main event of the UFC 197 pay-per-view (PPV) on April 23, 2016.
Over the last three years, Johnson has run roughshod over the flyweight ranks, turning back men like John Dodson (twice) and Joseph Benavidez. But now is the time he must meet his kryptonite, according to Cejudo.
The Mexican-American reveals part of his gameplan to the Inside MMA duo:
"I believe I have the attributes to beat this man. Come April 23 I'm going to go from "The Messenger" to "The Exterminator." He's a very diverse fighter and well-rounded in every area, but I think me as a fighter, I'm breaking this guy down. He's all based on distance and reaction and if you understand that, trust me man ... I have a degree in college and study my opponents. I really don't believe his stand-up is as good as mine. I believe I'm a lot crisper."
Though Cejudo has climbed the 125-pound ladder with the help of the folks at Fight Ready Gym in Phoenix, A.Z., the profound grappling artist has made the journey to Evolve MMA in Singapore where he will brush up on his striking and ground game.
Cejudo, 29, is using Holly Holm as an example as to what a former mixed martial arts (MMA) outsider can accomplish with the proper training. The ex-boxer went undefeated through the regional circuit and in UFC -- as has Cejudo -- en route to shocking the world with an upset knockout of previous women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey last November.
Cejudo, meanwhile, was last seen taking Jussier Formiga to the judges at UFC Fight Night 78, where the former captured a split-decision victory. Johnson, on the other hand, smoked his longtime rival Dodson over five rounds at UFC 191 to take a clear-cut decision win in "Sin City."
For more UFC 197 news and notes click here.