Tuesday, January 26, 2021

What is next for TJ Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo?

On Saturday night, the main event of UFC Fight Night 143 did not go along with the written script. It wasn’t a question of if TJ Dillashaw would beat Henry Cejudo, but a question of what was going to happen to the Flyweight division when that happened? However, in 30 seconds, Henry Cejudo proved us all wrong.

What is next for Henry Cejudo?

This is a question that Dana White is going to have to think long and hard about. There are a handful of different options for Cejudo from this point, though it’s unclear which is the most likely to happen. There is a chance that Cejudo may move up to 135lbs to challenge TJ Dillashaw for this Bantamweight title, though this is highly unlikely. There’s also a chance that TJ Dillashaw will get a rematch at 125lbs, which should also be unlikely.

I’m strongly against both of those options, for reasons I’ll explain further down. The right match to make for Henry Cejudo is a rematch with Joseph Benavidez – to give him a chance to avenge the only other loss of his career. Would this fight bring in as many fans as a Cejudo/Dillashaw rematch? No, it wouldn’t. But it’s the right MMA fight to make, if we have any respect left for rankings and contenders.  

What is next for TJ Dillashaw?

He had it all planned out. TJ Dillashaw was going to become the fourth UFC “Champ Champ”, and then he was going to challenge the Featherweight king Max Holloway in a quest to become the UFC’s first “Champ x3”.

TJ Dillashaw
TJ Dillashaw

However, his chance to defeat Henry Cejudo was ‘stolen’ from him, as he repeatedly asserted in his post fight press conference. Though he has since come out and admitted he was a sore loser… Dillashaw is still insisting he is the better fighter, and Cejudo got lucky.

Realistically, TJ got smoked and doesn’t deserve a rematch. What he calls an early stoppage, I call getting knocked down three times and taking 16 strikes without returning a single one. It’s time for TJ to move on and defend his own belt. The top contender for him to face currently would be Marlon Moraes, who is taking on Raphael Assuncao on February 2nd. If Moraes can win this rematch, he should be next in line for a shot at TJ’s title.

Why we don’t need a rematch

There is absolutely no need for a rematch between TJ and Cejudo, at either weight. TJ doesn’t deserve a rematch at 125 after being stopped in 30 seconds, it’s ludicrous to even suggest so. Cejudo is yet to defend his belt against someone from his own division, and holds a dubious split decision win over the former champion. He needs to rack up a few title defences before he can start looking to move up in weight and challenge TJ… unless he wants to vacate his belt and do it in the way that doesn’t destroy the already ruined Flyweight division that he claims to love so much.

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