When it was announced that Henry Cejudo would defend his flyweight belt against bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, there were mixed reactions. The announcement came at a time when it seemed like the UFC flyweight division would be cut. So, Dillashaw got people started on the idea that he was being sent to end the flyweight division. Henry Cejudo, in return, took it on himself that he would be fighting to save the division. Needless to say, his performance did not disappoint.
Henry Cejudo KO’s TJ Dillashaw
The general consensus on this fight was that Cejudo didn’t have much of a chance to win. If he did, it was going to be through grappling. But, as soon as the fight started, the two stood toe-to-toe and started striking. It didn’t take long for Cejudo to win the exchange, knocking Dillashaw down with a head kick followed by a right hook. Cejudo then hit Dillashaw with a barrage of strikes on the ground, almost finishing the fight. Dillashaw somehow found a way to stand back up. It wouldn’t take long for him to go back down, as Cejudo hit him with a left hook followed by a clean right hook. The ref had the fight stopped soon after Dillashaw hit the ground. Henry Cejudo retained his flyweight belt in a fight that not many expected him to win.
There has been some controversy regarding the stoppage. It looked like Dillashaw was trying to shoot for a single leg when the ref stopped the fight. That’s what he said in his post fight interview. But, he was knocked down twice in a span of ten seconds. The second knockdown was clean, and the ref stopped the fight. It could go either way, but either way, credit needs to be given to Henry Cejudo for his incredible performance. He’s no longer just an olympic level wrestler without much of a striking game. It’s also worth noting that the knockout was good for the fifth fastest knockout in UFC title fight history.
It’s unclear at this point what will come next for either of these fighters. After the fight, Cejudo said he wanted to go up and have the fight again at bantamweight. That contradicts his statement of saving the flyweight division with his win, though. If he wants to keep the flyweight division alive, he should defend his belt against Joseph Benavidez. Dillashaw said in his post fight interview that he wants an immediate rematch at 125 pounds due to the stoppage. This seems unlikely, as he is not a flyweight, and his only flyweight performance was him getting finished in 32 seconds. The most likely option is either Cejudo facing Dillashaw at bantamweight, or both guys defending their belts against the top guys in their respective divisions.