It appears that Dana White now has a plan in place for both the bantamweight and flyweight divisions.
The UFC president outlined those plans during an interview on ESPN+ following UFC Fight Night 148 in Nashville on Saturday night. First and foremost, the promotion is targeting a future showdown between Henry Cejudo and Marlon Moraes for the vacant bantamweight crown. Former champ T.J. Dillashaw relinquished the belt after failing a drug test in relation to UFC Brooklyn.
“I now have a plan. I didn’t have a plan before, but I now have a plan,” White. “It looks like we’re going to do the Moraes-Cejudo fight. They both want that fight really bad, seems like a good fight to make with the whole Dillashaw thing now. And then you do [Jussier da Silva] versus [Joseph] Benavidez on the same card. Anything goes wrong, one of them can step up and take the fight, and then the winner of that fight is the guaranteed No. 1 contender for the next shot.”
White did not offer details as to when and where the proposed fights would occur. While White seemed to indicate that “Formiga” vs. Benavidez was a title eliminator bout at flyweight, the long-term future of the division continues to remain in doubt, as rumors persist that the Las Vegas-based organization will eventually dissolve the men’s 125-pound weight class.
Cejudo stopped Dillashaw in 32 seconds at UFC Brooklyn on Jan. 19 to defend his flyweight title. Prior to the adverse drug test findings, the Olympic gold medalist had been seeking a rematch with Dillashaw, this time with 135-pound gold on the line. “The Messenger” is on a four-fight winning streak that includes a victory over pound-for-pound great Demetrious Johnson to claim the flyweight championship.
Moraes, meanwhile, has won for straight since falling to Raphael Assuncao in his Octagon debut. The former WSOF champion has finished Aljamain Sterling, Jimmie Rivera and Assuncao inside of a round in his last three UFC appearances.
Da Silva won his fourth straight at UFC Nashville, outpointing the previously unbeaten Deiveson Figueiredo in a featured 125-pound contest. After the victory, he pleaded for a bout against Cejudo.
Benavidez, a two-time flyweight title challenger, has won eight of his last nine UFC bouts. In his most recent appearance, Benavidez outpointed Dustin Ortiz at UFC Brooklyn.