Henry Cejudo sent a message to the rest of the MMA world on Saturday night by becoming the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold world titles in two divisions simultaneously.
Cejudo (15-2) took his time but eventually outclassed Brazilian powerhouse Marlon Moraes and stopped him in the third frame of their UFC 238 headlining bout in Chicago. “The Messenger” absorbed a hellish low kick attack from Moraes in the opening stanza and eventually slowed his foe down with punches and knees. Cejudo dispatched “Magic” with a punishing assault of elbows and fists from top half guard, forcing referee Marc Goddard to intervene at the 4:51 mark of round three.
The win allowed Cejudo, already the promotion’s flyweight champion, to snatch up the vacant bantamweight title. The feat gave him access to an illustrious club of multi-divisional champs featuring Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes and Daniel Cormier. However, Cejudo is quick to point out that he has something those other champs don’t: an Olympic gold medal.
“I’m not a double champion, I’m a triple champion,” Cejudo exclaimed after his triumph. “Olympic champion, flyweight champion and now bantamweight champion of the UFC. I’m the only person in the world who has all these titles, nobody else. Whether you hate me or you love me, I’m the pound-for-pound king.”
Cejudo’s achievement was one for the ages, no doubt. However, he wasn’t sure exactly where it ranked up there in his own personal success log.
“I don’t know where this ranks,” he admitted at the post-fight press conference. “The Demetrious Johnson win was very special to me, but this here puts me in a very exclusive club. That was almost never my goal. My goal was to win gold at the Olympics and win a UFC championship. But all this changed when I started improving in mixed martial arts and I thought, why not me?”
Cejudo isn’t one to play it coy when it comes to discussing his accomplishments or what he wants to achieve next. He said he wants to continue defending his flyweight strap as well as his new 135-pound belt. The Phoenix native even mentioned that he might move up to featherweight and do damage.
“I believed in my team and I’m where I am because of them,” he said. “Now I want to rest and I’ll be ready to fight in the end of the year, in ‘Cejudo’s’ division. I can fight at 125, 135 or 145. I’m ready for any of those.”
Though Cejudo has numerous potential options in three different weight classes, he oddly tossed out three names that left the MMA world puzzled: Dominick Cruz, Cody Garbrandt and Urijah Faber. Garbrandt has lost three straight bouts, all via knockout. Cruz mostly recently lost to Garbrandt, but that was in 2016 and Faber lost three of four before finally beating Brad Pickett, also in ’16. As odd of his call-outs were, Cejudo said there’s a reason for that.
“Those are legends now,” he said. “I want big fights. I’m on a legend rampage. I’m a legend killer. That’s what I want; big fights. Doesn’t that sound exciting? I need heavyweight money. I feel like I’m the face of the UFC now and I should be paid like one. Dana White has been great to me and I have nothing bad to say, but I want heavyweight money.”