Henry Cejudo’s head coach revealed prior to “The Messenger’s” title fight against Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227 that the Olympic gold medalist took a pay cut to face “Mighty Mouse.” Now, Cejudo claims he once again sacrificed some cash to face T.J. Dillashaw at the upcoming UFC on ESPN+ 1 event on Saturday night (Jan. 19, 2019) in Brooklyn, N.Y., seeing as how he could’ve earned a bit more if the fight was on pay-per-view (PPV). Cejudo didn’t mind, though, saying he did it for the sake of the Flyweight division. Plus, headlining the first-ever UFC on ESPN fight card was an added bonus.
“Look at the opportunity they gave me,” Cejudo said during a recent media scrum (via MMA Junkie). “It’s a Cinderella story. I beat this guy, resurrect the flyweight division, and that’s all there is to it. I’m willing to sacrifice some of my money for the sake of others. After this fight, let it be known I’m a prizefighter. So Uncle Dana and everybody is going to have to cough up, because I ain’t fighting for free,” he added.
“I’m not here just for a victory for myself and to add to my legacy, but also to all the 125 pounders who are someday looking to become a world champ in the UFC,” Cejudo said. “This is much bigger than me.”
Should Cejudo retain his Flyweight title with a win over Dillashaw, he wants to make sure he can lock down another title fight with “Viper,” this time for his Bantamweight strap. But make no mistake, he wants to get paid next time around.
“Once I beat him, we’ll talk to Uncle Dana. I feel like once I beat T.J. Dillashaw, it’s like the champ can’t defend his title unless he fights the other champ that beat him. That’s going to be a negotiation stop with the UFC. At the end of the day I’m a prizefighter. I’m looking to get paid whether I fight at ’25 or ’35.”
The narrative — one Dana White has sort of been hinting at — is that the 125-pound weight class will stay put should Cejudo win. If Dillashaw wins, then most seem to think that’s all she wrote for Flyweights competing inside the Octagon.