Henry Cejudo called out his UFC Brooklyn opponent TJ Dillashaw for what he perceives to be contradictions in his approach to dropping down to flyweight.
Speaking during yesterday’s UFC Brooklyn pre-fight press conference, Cejudo explained how he felt that Dillashaw was contradicting himself by once standing as a face of the MMAAA, a union established for the fighters – while now expressing an intention to kill an entire division for money.
If the 125lb weight-class is done away with, the UFC futures of several high-profile athletes will be put into jeopardy – something that ‘The Messenger’ was quick to remind TJ of.
“This is personal. This dude is a guy that was trying to start the union, start the union with the UFC [fighters] to getting paid a shitload of money to get rid of a division. Sending him down to dethrone the reigning champ. TJ , I’m not doing this just for me, man. I’m doing it for everybody. I’m doing it for all the 125-pounders.
“And that’s exactly who he is. You have friends like Joe Benavidez. You have guys like ‘Shorty’ Torres. These are all flyweights, bro. Where’s your respect, man?” (via MMAFighting)
While not said outright by Dana White, many have assumed that the future of the flyweight division will at least be hurt if Cejudo isn’t able to pull off the win tomorrow night.
The support for the divisional champ has been near-unanimous from his fellow 125lb-rs, something he can appreciate, even if he has a rocky history with some of them.
“Everybody. My worst enemies. Even Joe Benavidez is cheering for me. It’s at that point. This was his main training partner. He’s shaking my hand like, ‘Hey, I’m rooting for you, man.’ Like damn, this is a guy that I had bad blood with.”
“This is much bigger than me. This is for the guys, this for the all the flyweights that are not big enough to make 135 pounds. I’m fighting for those guys. I’m fighting for their family. There’s a big inspiration to me. When I’m inspired, I know I can get things done. There’s no other better person — Dana, UFC people — to throw the Hail Mary to than me. So, thank you.”
TJ himself seemed to revel in his position as the heel this time around, telling Cejudo that the future of the flyweight division is something he is not overly concerned about.
“I don’t care if it stays or goes. I’ve said that. It’s about me, myself, my name, feeding my family. If it stays? Cool. If it doesn’t and I end it, I’m the champion in both weight classes anyway.
That’s your problem. I’m doing this for myself. This is a selfish sport. I’m going out there and winning for myself. I’m gonna be the greatest.
“It’s about myself, man. It’s about my legacy. It’s about feeding my family, feeding my son down there and doing what’s best for myself and doing what’s best for my legacy and being the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. I’m chasing a second belt, I’m chasing the spot. I’ll do whatever.”
Of course, all that remains to do now is make the weight and lock the cage doors but even still, there is the sense that there is a lot more on the line than just pride, glory and championship titles.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena