The UFC flyweight division is moving on without Henry Cejudo.
There are plans in place for the UFC to strip Cejudo (15-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) of the 125-pound belt in order to set up bout for the vacant championship between Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo for UFC on ESPN+ 27.
MMA Junkie confirmed the information about the plan to strip Cejudo, as well as the planned title fight booking, with multiple people close to the situation following an initial report about the matchup from BJPenn.com.
UFC on ESPN+ 27 takes place Feb. 29 at Chartway Arena in Norfolk, Va. The card will stream on ESPN+.
Benavidez (28-5 MMA, 15-3 UFC), who’s on a three-fight winning streak, has been on standby waiting for a title shot since beating Jussier Formiga at UFC on ESPN 3 in June. He wanted the rematch with Cejudo, who he beat by split decision in December 2016, but was OK taking a different fight if he wasn’t returning to 125 pounds.
He indeed won’t be, and now Benavidez will take on Figueiredo (17-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC), who has lost just once in his 18-fight career. The Brazilian is coming off a first-round submission win over Tim Elliott at UFC on ESPN+ 19 in October.
Cejudo manager, Ali Abdelaziz, indicated to MMA Junkie his fighter, who will continue on as bantamweight champion, is ready to move forward.
“We haven’t been told anything official yet, but the UFC got to do what they got to do,” he told MMA Junkie. “We move on.”
Cejudo, for his part, says he is not being stripped of the belt, but is rather letting it go.
“No, I am not being stripped,” Cejudo told MMA Junkie. “I am relinquishing my title. Correction! “Triple C” is relinquishing his title to these wannabe, so-called flyweight kingpins. That’s what’s going on. I’m relinquishing my belt. Being stripped is not what I’m doing. I’m relinquishing, and you can tell them all to bend the knee.”