Henry Cejudo’s next opponent will be Joseph Benavidez, according to UFC president Dana White.
White said that Cejudo, the UFC bantamweight and flyweight champion, is most likely to defend his 125-pound belt in his next bout. Cejudo is currently recovering from surgery and is targeting a return at the end of the year or early 2020.
“He would go to 125, defend that title, then we would decide who he would fight next (at bantamweight),” White told TMZ. “As long as Cejudo is willing to defend both titles, I think that he is the guy who could carry both divisions.”
Until now, it wasn’t entirely clear where the UFC was going at either 125 and 135 pounds. Cejudo won the bantamweight title with a win over Marlon Moraes last month at UFC 238, but due to a shoulder injury, hasn’t said which division he would like to fight in next upon his return. Cejudo defended his flyweight title against T.J. Dillashaw in January. He won it last summer against Demetrious Johnson.
If Cejudo decided to fight at bantamweight before flyweight, Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan were two opponents that made the most sense. Following White’s comments, Sterling asked his fans on social media who they would like to see him fight for the interim bantamweight title.
Also in the mix to fight Cejudo was UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber. Faber returned from retirement last weekend at UFC Sacramento, scoring a 46-second TKO win over prospect Ricky Simon. Faber called out Cejudo after the win.
However, ultimately, it appears Joe-B is first in line. Benavidez, the No. 1 contender at 125 pounds, holds a December 2016 win over Cejudo, prior to Cejudo’s reign as champion. The former two-time UFC title contender is coming off a TKO of Jussier Formiga last month. He is considered by many to be one of the best fighters never to have won a belt in the Octagon.
Benavidez responded to the “great news” that he is getting the next shot at Cejudo on social media Tuesday.