It may have come at the expense of UFC 233, but UFC on ESPN+ 1 finally has its main event.
Earlier this week, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced that Henry Cejudo vs. T.J. Dillashaw superfight will be moved from UFC 233 on Jan. 26 in Anaheim, Calif., to UFC on ESPN+ 1 on Jan. 19 in Brooklyn, New York. It is a move that will hurt the Anaheim card quite a bit, but one that UFC president Dana White felt obligated to make.
“We did it last time when we launched, too,” White told MMAjunkie earlier this week.
Of course, White is referring to UFC's monumental debut on FOX back in 2011, in which the promotion used a heavyweight title fight between then champion Cain Velasquez and top contender Junior dos Santos to make a big splash on network television.
Now with a bigger deal with ESPN in place, UFC is looking to showcase another big fight to spark their partnership off the right way. And considering Dillashaw, the current UFC bantamweight champion, is moving down in weight to try to win his second world title against current flyweight champion Cejudo, UFC is offering ESPN quite the matchup.
After all, Dillashaw produced admirable PPV buys for his most recent Octagon appearance against rival Cody Garbrandt back at UFC 227 earlier this year.
The only obstacle that could ruin UFC's awaited debut on ESPN would be a botched weight cut by Dillashaw, who will be dropping an extra 10 pounds for his flyweight title fight with Cejudo. While the extended cut down to 125 pounds isn't going to be easy for "Killashaw," White is confident the UFC champion can make it happen.
“I don’t worry about a lot of that stuff,” White said. “These guys are professionals. Dillashaw has been around for a long time and knows what he’s doing.”
Only time will tell if Dillashaw is able to make the flyweight benchmark and whether or not his superfight opposite Cejudo can bring in big numbers on ESPN.
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