What's next for Henry Cejudo? Exploring the options the UFC dual-champion has on the table
Some interesting potential opponents exist for the champ-champ's next outing
Henry Cejudo is a very busy man. With one of the most active mouths in UFC and two championships to back it up, the champ-champ representing the flyweight and bantamweight divisions has no trouble keeping himself in the news. When it comes down to it, everyone is wondering who's next for the simultaneous two-division titleholder on the male side of the promotion. Recent discussions for Cejudo's next fight include a former featherweight champ, a UFC Hall of Famer and the former Olympian's new quest -- sarcasm present or not -- to become an Andy Kaufman-esque "intergender champion."
While the latter feels to be somewhat comedic in intention, let's take a look at who could be the next to step up to the reigning champion at both 125 and 135 pounds.
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Jose Aldo, former featherweight champ
Aldo's most recent fight was a loss to Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 237. Volkanovski is the only man in UFC to have defeated Aldo in UFC competition in a non-title fight. The Brazilian featherweight legend recently expressed interest in dropping down to bantamweight to challenge Cejudo for the 135-pound belt. Aldo (28-5) has a deceiving record in recent years, going 3-4 since 2015. Those losses have come against elite opposition (two of those losses are to reigning featherweight king Max Holloway), however, and there appears to be plenty left in the former featherweight champ's tank as he signed a new six-fight contract. UFC president Dana White seemed open to the idea, but stopped short of confirming an immediate bantamweight title fight for Aldo.
"Aldo texted me and I told him I didn't know, that we would see," White told Combate. "We still don't know what to do with those divisions. As soon as we do, we'll tell him. I like Jose Aldo anywhere, in any weight class."
Urijah Faber, UFC Hall of Famer
Faber (35-10) returned from more than two years away from the Octagon with a 46-second knockout of Ricky Simon at UFC Fight Night 155 in July. It was an impressive win for Faber coming out of retirement, and if we're talking "money fights" for Cejudo, Faber is the guy. The two even shared a cageside staredown at UFC 241, though Faber questioned Cejudo's interest.
"Does he really want some?" Faber wrote on Instagram. "'The Cringe' calls me out...I answer...crickets."
Petr Yan, No. 4 ranked bantamweight
Yan (13-1) has run through his opponents in UFC. Making his five straight Octagon victories even more impressive is the fact they all came in less than a one-year span. Yan recently threw out a challenge to Faber while also dismissing Cejudo's chances in a fight against him.
"I was not impressed at all," Yan said after Aljamain Sterling's win over Pedro Munhoz at UFC 238. "I would beat him and the champion (Henry Cejudo) in one night."
Speaking of Sterling ...
Aljamain Sterling, No. 2 ranked bantamweight
After a 12-0 start to his career, Sterling (18-3) lost back-to-back split decisions. He has since rebounded with a 6-1 run, including the current four-fight winning streak he's enjoying. His run has vaulted him to the No. 2 position in the banamweight division. Like everyone else on the list, Sterling has stated his own confidence in a showdown with the champ.
"I think I posses all the talent in the world to compete with Henry," Sterling told MMA Fighting. "Henry is a tough dude, man. I think he is the pound-for-pound greatest combat athlete today. No one has done what he's been able to accomplish. But, I will say this, when I beat him, 'Henry Cedoodo,' what does that make me? The pound-for-pound king. So that's what I'm looking to get for my next title. So go out there, beat up Henry and I think I'll be able to take that title.
"I'm too long, I'm too rangy, I can box, I can kick, I can wrestle, I can do jiu-jitsu. So where does he win? I like my chances in that one."
Joseph Benavidez, No. 1 ranked flyweight
Benavidez (28-5) has come up short in two bids for the UFC flyweight title, but those losses both came against former champ Demetrious Johnson. Now, sitting at No. 1 at 125 pounds with a new champ on top of the division, Benavidez has a compelling case for another go at the belt. In July, Dana White said Benavidez was up next for Cejudo as long as he's willing to defend titles in two divisions, so it seems entirely likely this is the true next fight for the champ.
The two faced off once in 2016 with Cejudo taking a split decision victory, though Benavidez maintains he deserved the nod.
Add two more rounds and a title to the mix, and the rematch has all the ingredients needed for a true spectacle.
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