Now that Henry Cejudo has captured championship titles in both the flyweight and bantamweight divisions, “Triple C” can pick and choose where he defends his strap, assuming he doesn’t make that oft-teased jump to featherweight.
But top-ranked 125-pound contender, Joseph Benavidez, who already holds a win over Cejudo, believes a return to flyweight is imminent, based on the work that still needs to be done in the wake of Demetrious Johnson’s departure.
“You look at the number one guy at bantamweight, which would be Aljamain Sterling. And you look at the number one guy in flyweight, which would be me and Formiga. And having me come out of that, I make more sense than anybody right now,” Benavidez told Submission Radio. “Nobody else has history with Cejudo – and not only history, a win over him. So that’s what makes the most sense, is no one can say they’ve got a win over him. That last win, he has to avenge that loss.”
Benavidez won’t be in line for anything unless he first gets past Jussier Formiga in their rematch at UFC Minneapolis later this month on ESPN. The Brazilian also fought Cejudo and lost by narrow split decision in late 2015, so there’s history on both sides of the 125-pound coin.
Unfortunately for all parties involved, Cejudo underwent shoulder surgery and is expected to be sidelined for the rest of the year. That means “Joey Two Times” can continue to face top contenders, or ride the pine until “Triple C” returns.
“They’re calling me Joey ‘Two Times’ because I’m having to beat everybody twice, including in the future Cejudo once I get that fight after this one,” Benavidez said. “Having to get past Formiga, like, I have to do everything twice. So, yeah, I mean, the motivation, it’s not anything crazy, it’s nothing romantic, it’s what we do, it’s our job. You know, they call us to fight, they call us in to work. That’s what you do. You don’t fear any man, you don’t take any shortcuts, you don’t take any easy routes.”
For much more on Benavidez vs. Formiga click here.