That famous quote by America’s bard might apply equally to the beleaguered Ultimate Fighting Championship men’s flyweight division.
With a stunning 32-second knockout of bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw at UFC on ESPN+ 1 on Saturday, Henry Cejudo took an iron grip on the belt he won last August, and breathed life -- at least for now -- into a division the UFC doesn’t seem to want around. Dillashaw’s self-proclaimed mission to “kill the flyweight division” went down in a hail of punches from the Olympic gold medalist, but given Cejudo’s stated wish for a rematch at bantamweight, the reprieve is by no means definitive or permanent.
Of course, the shadow looming over all of these flyweight proceedings is that of Demetrious Johnson, who departed for One Championship last year after losing the belt to Cejudo in one of the biggest upsets of 2018. Until UFC 227, the story of the flyweight title was Johnson’s story and his alone. “Mighty Mouse” snatched the inaugural title from a mini-tourney of four of the most deserving contenders -- all former bantamweights like himself -- and then held it for a record-breaking 11 consecutive defenses. What made that run even more impressive is that Johnson seemed to put more distance between himself and the pack as the years went by, adding wrinkles to his game and evolving from a fighter once criticized as a “decision machine” into the author of chilling knockouts and dazzling submissions.
Now, however, the belt belongs to “The Messenger.” Whatever the future may hold for Cejudo and the division, he has vaulted himself into the discussion of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world with his back-to back victories over the best fighters in two weight classes.
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