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Henry Cejudo feels deserving of lucrative champ-vs.-champ showdown with T.J. Dillashaw

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MOSCOW – Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo absolutely agrees that Demetrious Johnson deserves a rematch for the UFC belt. As it stands, however, his priority is still a champ vs. champ meeting with bantamweight title holder T.J. Dillashaw.

Cejudo, who became the UFC’s second flyweight champion by dethroning Johnson at last month’s UFC 227, discussed his next steps while fulfilling guest fighter duties at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 136.

Much like the whereabouts of his physical belt, they are still unclear. But there is a front runner.

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“I believe (Dillashaw) wants to fight me, from what he has said to the media,” Cejudo told reporters, including MMAjunkie, at Olympic Stadium. “The UFC wants the fight. Now it’s just time to negotiate and see what weight class we’re going to do it at.”

Cejudo (13-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) says he gave Dillashaw (16-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) the option of competing at either the 125 or the 135-pound division. At 125, he believes Dillashaw will be depleted, and “I’ll knock him out.” At 135, Cejudo ponders, there is a bit of a risk – but he still believes he could beat him and become a champ-champ.

Either way, Cejudo said, he has to respect what Dillashaw has done and is open to whatever option.

“To me, it really doesn’t matter,” Cejudo said. “It just doesn’t. I just want to fight this guy. I can beat him at 125 or 135.”

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Dillashaw, on his end, recently made it clear on the “JRE MMA Show” podcast that the bout would happen at 125, as he wants “no excuses that I’m the bigger man.”

Another option that seemed immediately on the table was, of course, a trilogy bout with Johnson. After all, not only is he now 1-1 with Cejudo, he did defend his UFC belt a record-setting 11 times and dominated the division for seven years before Cejudo dethroned him. Based on accomplishment alone, very few people would disagree the ex-champ is deserving of an opportunity to reclaim his title.

Cejudo agrees that Johnson “absolutely” deserves a rematch. But, first, there’s the fact that Johnson still has some injuries to tend to. And then there’s what Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist who’s managed to excel in the highest level of two separate sports, deserves.

“I felt like they had overlooked me with Demetrious Johnson, and they always tried to get the super fight with T.J. and D.J., and I’m just like, ‘You know what? I won. Give me the fight,’” Cejudo said.

“I feel like it’s deserving. Demetrious Johnson can heal up, and I’ll fight him next.”

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As for possible dates for the super fight, Cejudo says he’s aiming toward December – perhaps the UFC 231 card set to take place Dec. 8 in Toronto – or even January or February.

So those are the two most logical choices for his first title defense, but they’re not the only ones on Cejudo’s radar. In his division, the champ has also entertained the possibility of a rematch with Joseph Benavidez, whom Cejudo lost to via split decision after his first title bid in 2016, or even on-the-rise Brazilian Deiveson Figueiredo, who’s “been killing people” and has already made his title plea.

“I think, to me, (Johnson, Figueiredo, Benavidez) are the three guys that I got my eyes on,” Cejudo said. “But the first one in line, if I fight at 125, is Demetrious Johnson, and the rest will go from there. I’m not dodging Demetrious Johnson by any means. I want a super fight. I want to make money, guys. I want to challenge myself, and I want it to be lucrative, man. I deserve it.

“A two-sport champ, 10 years in the making, and I think that has a lot of juice, too. Maybe I haven’t defended my belt 11 or 12 times. But God, man, what I’ve done, nobody has done. Give me some credit, a little bit. Let me take this fight with no problems.”

To hear from Cejudo, check out the video above.

And for more on the UFC schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Gallery

Henry Cejudo def. Demetrious Johnson at UFC 227: Best photos

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