The first major UFC fight of 2019 will be the champion versus champion match-up when flyweight king, Henry Cejudo welcomes bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw down a division for the UFC’s maiden ESPN+ event.
Both fighters are coming off career defining victories after Cejudo beat out arguably MMA’s greatest ever champion in Demetrius Johnson to claim the 125lb strap, whilst Dillashaw brutally KO’d Cody Garbrandt to reclaim his title and put an end to their ongoing feud.
With the champion versus champion trend gathering serious pace within MMA’s top organisation, Dillashaw recently stated his intention to go back up a weight class in the future and potentially challenge for the featherweight title against Max Holloway.
“Would I move up to 145 [pounds]? Absolutely, man,” TJ Dillashaw said on a recent Instagram live video as transcribed by MiddleEasy.com
“I would love to. I’m a professional. I train hard. Making ’25s has been a process in its own… To get my body down there and do it the right way. ’45s would have to be the same thing, it would be a lot of work.
“Right now I’m in love with food because I don’t get to eat as much of it. If I went ’45s I’d hate it because I’d be doing nothing but stuffing my face but that’s definitely something I would love to do.”
The bantamweight champion stated that he would love to challenge Holloway in the future, but for now, his sights are firmly set on claiming flyweight gold.
“Weight is good,” Dillashaw said.
“I’m ahead of schedule. Very excited about that. Wakin’ up light.
“Everyone wants me to go to featherweight and fight Max. I would love to. But look, one step at a time. Let’s run through Cejudo first then Max can be next. [I can] be the first one to ever go for three belts.”
However, Henry Cejudo’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz fears that Dillashaw will not be able to make the 125lb flyweight limit, revealing to MMA Fighting that they already have a replacement opponent lined up in case the bantamweight champion fails to tip the scales correctly.
“I don’t think T.J.’s going to make weight. And if he misses weight by .1 pounds, Joseph Benavidez is going to fight [Cejudo for the title]. We’re going to give Joseph a shot. One-hundred percent, if he does not make weight, Joseph Benavidez is getting a title shot.
“Because I personally don’t think he’ll make it. If he makes it, he’s going to be weak, fragile, and he’s going to have a long, long night with the champ. It’ll be a long night for T.J.
“He’s a good fighter, but he can’t fight at the pace Henry’s going fight him at 125. He doesn’t have the speed to fight Henry.”